Costa Rica dominates Guadeloupe to advance to the semifinals in Gold Cup

July 17, 2009

The Costa Rican soccer team christened Dallas Cowboys stadium in memorable fashion on Sunday. Three minutes into the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal game against Guadeloupe, Costa Rican midfielder Celso Borges approached a high cross from Armando Alonso, leaped and struck a 12-yard bicycle kick into the right corner of the net to give Costa Rica an early 1-0 lead.

The Ticos continued the onslaught from there, producing their best offensive game of the tournament en route to a 5-1 win over Guadeloupe. The game was the first ever sporting event played at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas.

After the early Borges goal, Costa Rica took a 2-0 lead in the 16th minute when Alonso sent a cross into the path of forward Alvaro Saborio, who headed the ball into the top left corner. Costa Rica took a 3-0 lead in the 47th minute off a left-footed blast by forward Andy Herron, and, after Guadeloupe cut the lead to 3-1, a second goal by Saborio in the 71st minute ended any threats of a Guadeloupe comeback. Substitute Pablo Herrera added the final goal of the match in the 89th minute.

With the win, Costa Rica moves on to play Mexico in the semifinals on Thursday at Soldier Field in Chicago. This is the first time the Ticos have been to the semifinals of Gold Cup since 2003. Mexico, who played the second game at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday, beat Haiti 4-0. The attendance for the games was recorded at 82,252.

The semifinal game against Mexico will serve as a crucial test for the Ticos, whose only loss through five games in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying was a 2-0 loss to Mexico in March. Mexico will come to Costa Rica for a World Cup qualifying match on Sept. 5.

The other semifinal game on Thursday pits the United States against Honduras. The U.S. beat Honduras in group play in the Gold Cup, 2-0 on July 8.

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