The Stadiums that haunt the USMNT

This is a series of two stories about the teams in the last round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. The next one is going to be about the Colossus of Saint Ursula or the Estadio Azteca. 

Every three years the process to make it to the World Cup begins. Since the US National Men’s Team as well as Costa Rica’s play in the Hexagonal, almost every single iteration possible of this round in its history. Through the years that the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers has been in place, (ever since 1985, they’ve had a record of no wins, eight loses and a tie) the US haven’t won in Costa Rican soil.

Just this past year, in Week Two of the recent Hexagonal or Round Five of the qualifiers, Costa Rica won 4-0 at home with most of the goals coming in the second half. In the qualifiers before in 2013-2014, this was the game after the infamous “Snow Game”. In the earlier weeks on the qualifiers to Brazil, the United States played Costa Rica in the Denver-metro area. Mile-high and in the winter, conditions yielded for a giant amount of snowfall. In that game the US squeaked by with a result of 1-0. Tensions rose and as someone who went to the game in Costa Rica, whenever the US anthem and the FIFA anthem played in that  game, people stood up and turned their back to the field, a symbolic gesture to indicate that “you turned your back on us so we are going turn our back on you”. Some in the crowd simply “flipped the bird” to protest.

The new Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica. The old one was knocked down in the same area where it sits

Even when the New Estadio Nacional in the Sabana neighborhood of the capital city, the streak continued. In the New National Stadium, it seats more than the Saprissa Stadium but there’s a track area which doesn’t make it so that the crowd is on the same level. As of today, Costa Rica hasn’t lost a game in terms of World Cup Qualifiers in the new stadium.

As far as games are concerned here are the results in Costa Rican soil:

Date Game Result Stadium Notes
5/26/1985 Costa Rica 1-US 1 Estadio

Alejandro Morera Soto


Only game tied and the only game played in that stadium
4/16/1989 Costa Rica 1-US 0 Estadio Nacional (Old) First of nine straight wins for Costa Rica in their own soil, the old stadium in which the new stadium is in (Stadium has been turned out near 2010 to make space for the New Estadio Nacional)
12/1/1996 Costa Rica 2- US 1 Estadio Saprissa First game of many in this stadium
3/23/1997 Costa Rica 3-US 2 Estadio Saprissa
7/23/2001 Costa Rica 2-US 0 Estadio Saprissa
10/8/2005 Costa Rica 3-US 0 Estadio Saprissa Was the biggest difference until a 4-0 in these World Cup Qualifiers.
6/3/2009 Costa Rica 3-US 1 Estadio Saprissa  Last game played in this stadium due to having more seating in the New Estadio Nacional
9/6/2013 Costa Rica 3-US 1 Estadio Nacional (New) First game in the stadium; same World Cup Qualifiers as the “Snow Game” in Denver
11/15/2016 Costa Rica 4-US 0  

Estadio Nacional


Biggest win margin in the series, nine straight winning streak of Costa Rica against the US at home

During the series:

Record of the US in Costa Rica, 0-9-1

Goals conceded by the US: 24

Goals scored by the US: 7

Goal differential: -17

Source: Cristian Sandoval, Major Broadcaster for Teletica Canal 7 Deportes (Costa Rica)

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