San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Friendlies with benefits

Here's how South Korea scored to beat Costa Rica in a World Cup warm-up over the weekend

Costa Rica’s offense produced another goalless game in a 1-0 loss to South Korea in Los Angeles on Saturday. Since qualifying for the World Cup last October, Costa Rica has been shut out in all three of its international friendlies in preparation for Brazil.

The defeat to South Korea followed a 4-0 disaster against Chile on Wednesday, and a 1-0 dismissal at the hands of Australia in November.

South Korea’s Kim Shin-Wook scored the lone goal of the match 10 minutes into the game. Shin-wook tracked down a save deflected by goalie Leonel Moreira, and sent the rebound into the net.

These results don’t signal a catastrophe for the Costa Rica Men’s National Team just yet.  Costa Rica is playing these games without many of their likely World Cup starters as Coach Jorge Luis Pinto tests potential reserves. The loss to the Korean Republic wasn’t even the worst incident to befall Costa Rica this weekend. Much worse for the team was the broken leg suffered by star defender Bryan Oviedo during a match with his English Premier League club.

Still, the uninspired showings by Costa Rica’s second stringers demonstrate how little depth the team has, and how difficult it will be to replace Oviedo in the line-up if he happens to miss the World Cup (reports aren’t optimistic about Oviedo’s chances to play).

Not only have Pinto’s subs failed to impress, they’ve lacked discipline. South Korea defeated a nine-man Costa Rica after two players were ejected: Christopher Meneses received a red card at the 68th minute mark and Mauricio Castillo left after picking up two yellows in a 10-minute span in the second half. Costa Rica also finished short-handed against Chile after Michael Umaña was expelled from the match.

The Ticos probably will play a couple more friendlies — with the team’s actual starters in the line-up — before leaving for Brazil in June. No one should dismiss Costa Rica with five months remaining to prepare, but at this point there’s not much to feel confident about either.

Kim Min-woo (R) of South Korea and Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Leonel Moreira Ladezma in action during their friendly soccer match at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 25.


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