Americans depart for Costa Rica and critical qualifier.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Saturday, July 22, 2000) -- The United States men concluded their final training session in Fort Lauderdale yesterday morning, working for 90 minutes under the now-familiar hot and humid conditions. Each of the 19 players in camp participated in the practice session, attempting to win one of the 18 available roster positions for tomorrow’s CONCACAF qualifier at Costa Rica in San Jose.
As has become custom during the two weeks of training, the team again mixed up the drills to provide a combination of exercises that would work on ball possession, passing, and finally, at the end of training, crossing and shooting.
The team has returned to the hotel and held a meeting with the coaching staff following a team dinner. This morning saw the team check out of the hotel and depart for a 9 a.m. charter flight to San Jose. Once again the team will fly to the match on a charter plane provided by the Washington Wizards (NBA) and Capitals (NHL).
Upon arrival in Costa Rica, the team held a brief training session at the site of the match, Saprissa Stadium. The team will return to the United States immediately following the match, and should be back in Fort Lauderdale at about 9 p.m. meaning that the stay in Costa Rica will amount to about 30 hours in total.
The match against Costa Rica will be shown live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m.
Question: Based on your previous experiences in Costa Rica, what can the team expect on Sunday?
Reyna: Well, it’s definitely going to be a hostile atmosphere, and it’ll probably be a lot worse at Saprissa Stadium than it was last weekend in Guatemala. It’s going to be a difficult game because they lost last weekend, and they’ll be under a tremendous amount of pressure from the fans and the whole country. It will be a nice challenge for us.
Question: Are you confident heading into the match?
Reyna: Yeah, we’re ready. We’ve been together almost two weeks now, and have already played an important game together. I expect we all do, really that we’ll play better this weekend than we did last Sunday. Hopefully it’ll be a little cooler for us so we can play the way we like to play for 90 minutes.
Question: After some time to reflect on the Guatemala result, are you disappointed with the tie?
Reyna: Not really. Looking back it’s really not bad. I think we’re a little disappointed about the way we lost the two points, giving up a goal in the last minute, but a draw away from home is never bad in World Cup qualifying. Now all we have to do is make sure we take care of our home games, and that should pretty much take us through to the next round. But now we have a tough game against Costa Rica and we need to grab any points we can down there.
Question: What do you know about the Costa Rica team you’ll face on Sunday?
Reyna: They have some very fast players going forward, and they are a skillful team, like most Latin teams. They are one of the better teams in CONCACAF when they are on their game. In the last few years they’ve been a bit inconsistent, but we’ve got to expect that Costa Rica is going to show up and play their best game. We’ve got to match their effort.
Question: Do you expect to be playing the same role for (Glasgow) Rangers this season?
Reyna: Oh, no. I was only playing right-back because of a series of injuries to our defenders. I expect to be playing more in the midfield this year. I’ll be back in Scotland on Tuesday morning (July 25), we have a game on Wednesday, and our first league game is next week, on the 29th.