Costa Rica World Cup PreviewPosted: Monday May 27, 2002 9:42 PM
How they line up
Costa Rica normally use a 3-5-2 formation but can easily modify this into a 5-3-2, a 3-6-1, or a 3-4-3, depending on the circumstances.
Erick Lonnis is undoubtedly the first-choice goalkeeper. One of three team captains, his leadership is perhaps his greatest asset. Alvaro Mesen, his backup, is also a talented keeper but much less experienced than Lonnis.
Luis Marin sweeps behind Gilberto Martinez on the left and Reynaldo Parks on the right. Marin is very skilful and cool under pressure; Martinez, who is rumored to have signed a five-year contract with Brescia, plays like a veteran despite being only 22; Parks is another of three captains who, unlike Lonnis, is very quiet and leads by example. Alexander Madrigal and Mauricio Wright are options in defense.
Since earning his first cap in Guimaraes' first game as coach, Carlos Castro has taken over the left side of midfield, showing his talent for dribbling and passing. Austin Berry, likely to be Castro's backup, is stronger defensively and an excellent crosser. William Sunsing often replaces Castro when Costa Rica are chasing the game, giving the team a stronger attacking presence.
On the right side things are less settled. Jervis Drummond has started the most games in this position, but Harold Wallace has also racked up a significant amount of playing time. Drummond is better defensively; Wallace is better going forward. Geovanny Jara, with his Italia '90 experience, is another option and can play on either flank.
Costa Rica normally play with one defensive midfielder. Mauricio Solis has settled into that role, excelling at winning possession and marking while contributing to the attack with timely passes and a blistering long range shot. Back-up Rodrigo Cordero is sometimes brought on to accompany him when Guimaraes opts for a more defensive lineup.
The creative midfield role has been split almost evenly between Wilmer Lopez and Walter Centeno. Lopez is by far the fans' favorite and the most experienced of the two. Centeno is good at holding the ball under pressure and dangerous at free-kicks.
The final midfield position is occupied by Ronald Gomez, who likes to lurk behind the forwards looking for opportunities to utilize his powerful left foot. Steven Bryce is much faster and a better dribbler than Gomez, making him an effective second-half substitute when opposing defenses start to tire.
Paulo Wanchope is Costa Rica's most irreplaceable player and will start up front, fitness permitting, along with Rolando Fonseca. Fonseca's goal-poaching ability and tireless runs off the ball make him an excellent foil for Wanchope, whose strength in the air and skill on the ground attract opposing defenders, thus freeing up teammates. Hernan Medford is the other of the three captains and the only squad member to have scored in a World Cup. He is most likely to be used as a substitute.
From World Soccer magazine.