Head Coach Óscar Ramírez announced the list of 25 players who will begin preparing next Sunday for the next two qualifying games of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia against Mexico and Honduras.
Costa Rica’s Men’s National Team, or La Sele, will face Mexico on March 24 in Mexico City and Honduras in San Pedro Sula on March 28.
Ramírez chose a group formed mostly of players from European leagues and from Major League Soccer.
At a press conference at noon on Friday, Ramírez said he based his list in selecting versatile players who can play in multiple positions and can offer him game alternatives.
“I’m also taking precautions with players who already received a yellow card,” he said.
There are currently six players who will miss a game if they receive another yellow card: team’s captain Bryan Ruiz, Rónald Matarrita, Marco Ureña, Joel Campbell and Johnny Acosta.
New and returning names
Ramírez’s most recent list has four new names, three of them from local champion Deportivo Saprissa: goalkeeper Danny Carvajal, defender Heiner Mora and midfielder Ulises Segura. The other is DC United’s forward José Guillermo Ortiz.
Mora is the most surprising name on the roster. The defender, who also plays in the midfield, was a regular La Sele player who made the final cut for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, he missed that tournament after injuring his heel during a friendly, and had to be replaced just two days before the inaugural match against Uruguay.
“I’m very happy, and above all, very thankful to God for this opportunity to make the National Team again,” Mora told reporters shortly after the press conference.
Goalie Danny Carvajal is replacing Esteban Alvarado from Turkey’s Trabzonspor. Ramírez said the main reason for excluding Alvarado is the current political situation in his team’s country.
“It’s a complicated situation. I worry about him every single time I hear news about Turkey,” the coach said.
This the full list of players for the next two games of La Sele:
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), Danny Carvajal (Saprissa).
Defenders: Giancarlo González (Palermo), Michael Umaña (Alajuelense), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Johnny Acosta (Herediano), Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United), Óscar Duarte (Espanyol), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland), Ronald Matarrita (New York City), Cristian Gamboa (Celtic), Heiner Mora (Saprissa).
Midfielders: Ulises Segura (Saprissa), Randall Azofeifa (Herediano), Yeltsin Tejeda (Lausanne), David Guzmán (Portland Timbers), Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruña), Christian Bolaños (Vancouver Whitecaps), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting Club), Johan Venegas (Minnesota United).
Forwards: José Guillermo Ortiz (DC United), Joel Campbell (Sporting Club), Marco Ureña (San Jose Earthquakes).