The players on the Costa Rica roster are just getting to know each other, even if it looked like they’ve been playing together forever Sunday night.
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Marco Urena scored in the seventh minutes and again in the 46th, helping Costa Rica to a 5-0 victory over Cuba in the opening match for both teams at CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Costa Rica improved to 4-0 against Cuba in the Gold Cup.
”We’re starting a new tournament, getting to know each other on the field,” Costa Rica coach Ricardo La Volpe said. ”The opponent is also important to take into consideration.”
Christian Bolanos set up Urena’s first goal, streaking down the left flank and crossing a pass that Urena redirected into the right corner of the net from inside 10 yards.
Alvaro Saborio gave Costa Rica a 2-0 lead just before halftime with a goal in the 41st minute. Bolanos also assisted on Saborio’s goal with a looping volley from inside midfield.
”Costa Rica was superior,” Cuba coach Raul Gonzalez said. ”We have a national team going through transition.”
Costa Rica had 11 shots on goal compared to none for Cuba, whose best chance for a score came in the 14th minute, when Alberto Gomez had a chance to tie the game with an open shot at the net from inside the penalty area. He pushed his shot over the crossbar.
Urena opened the second half by taking a through ball from midfield and dribbling around Cuba goalkeeper Odelin Molina before a placing a shot into an empty net for a 3-0 lead.
Less than a minute after Urena’s second goal, Heiner Mora scored on another breakaway after he received a pass from Bryan Oviedo, dribbled around Molina and scored in the 47th minute.
”The defensive line was open and we lost concentration on those two goals,” Gonzalez said.
Joe Campbell, who substituted for Urena in the 56th minute, finished the scoring for Costa Rica when he fired a right-footed volley from inside the penalty box into the right corner of the net in the 71st minute.
”At the start of the game the passing was a bit imprecise,” La Volpe said. ”I spoke to them about it at halftime and I thought they came out better.”
Costa Rica’s next opponent will be El Salvador on June 9 in Charlotte, N.C. Cuba will play Mexico the same night as part of Group A play.