Costa Rica (red jersey) CONCACAF Under-17 Championship action against Mexico on March 15, 2015, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Six years have passed since Costa Rica made the last of its eight FIFA U-17 World Cup appearances.
On Sunday, the Ticos hope to reverse that trend.
Costa Rica will take on Canada in a single-game CONCACAF Under-17 Championship (CU17) playoff that will determine the Confederation’s third representative at Chile 2015. The United States and Jamaica are slated to square off later in the day for the last berth.
"We are prepared for the opponent that we will face,” said Costa Rica head coach Marcelo Herrera, who assumed the managerial reins in January. “I'm happy with the reaction that the players have shown. They are doing very well despite the little time we’ve had to work together.”
It will be the second meeting between the sides in this year’s competition. Canada rallied for a 3-2 victory in the first encounter after goals by Jonathan Martinez (17’ pen) and Andy Reyes (48’) staked the Costa Ricans to a 2-1 lead.
Reyes’ play has been pivotal throughout the tournament. He is tied for second on the scoring table with four goals and is expected to spearhead the Central Americans’ attack once again.
"With everyone's help we will get this because what we want is to go to the World Cup in Chile,” said Reyes. “The opponent is not important. We knew that whichever it was that the team has to win.”
Historically, very little separates the sides. In nine previous CU17 meetings between them, Canada and Costa Rica have three wins each.
That deadlock will be broken at the Estadio Francisco Morazan and, more importantly, a U-17 World Cup ticket will be punched.