On Friday, the U.S. national team takes the pitch in Costa Rica for a World Cup qualifying match. The Costa Ricans are making it as difficult as possible, denying them training grounds and even going so far as to refuse them game balls for practice.
This is payback for the "Snow Game" in Colorado back in March, when officials continued the match despite the protests of the Costa Rican side. The U.S. won that one 1-0, and Los Ticos have apparently been plotting their revenge this entire time.
It started at the airport.
Here's what the USMNT had to deal with:
Then it was off to find a place to practice.
Now, about those balls:
It won't get any better on the day of the match.
This should be a fun one. The USMNT is 0-7-1 all-time in qualifiers in Costa Rica, and before March, hadn't beaten them anywhere since 2005. On the other side, CR is still smarting from Jonathan Bornstein's 95th-minute goal in 2009 qualifiers that bumped them out of the World Cup. Jürgen Klinsmann calls it the "biggest game in the year 2013." The Costa Ricans are ready too—check the front page of yesterday's paper: