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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

June 2, 2009
THE CONFIDENCE FACTOR
U.S. ready to make some history and finally win in Costa Rica

By Michael Lewis
BigAppleSoccer.com Editor

Landon Donovan: "We feel we're a more talented team and we feel like we're a better team. We want to become a team that can compete at a real level at the World Cup. These are the games we need to
Landon Donovan: "We feel we're a more talented team and we feel like we're a better team. We want to become a team that can compete at a real level at the World Cup. These are the games we need to
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
San Jose, Costa Rica -- Are they overconfident or ready to produce an upset and make some history?

Though the U.S. National Team has never won in eight attempts in this Central American country, the Americans feel they can prevail over Costa Rica in a hostile stadium in a World Cup qualifier Wednesday night (ESPN, 10 p.m. ET).

"This is a game we think we can win," U.S. midfielder-forward Landon Donovan said. "We feel we're a more talented team and we feel like we're a better team. We want to become a team that can compete at a real level at the World Cup. These are the games we need to win. We have a good opportunity now."

A win would put the first-place U.S. (2-0-1, seven points) a giant step closer to reaching an unprecedented sixth consecutive World Cup in South Africa. The Americans lead the CONCACAF six-team final group, followed by Costa Rica (2-1-0, six), Honduras (1-1-1, four), a disappointing Mexico (1-2-0, three), El Salvador (0-1-2, two) and Trinidad & Tobago (0-1-2, two). The top three teams qualify with the fourth-place team taking on the fifth-place side in South America in a special playoff.

Costa Rican defender Gonzalo Segares, who plays with the Chicago Fire, said the U.S. was "the best team in CONCACAF right now. It's going to be a hard game."

The Americans are 0-6-1 in seven qualifiers (the lone point was a 1-1 draw in 1985) and 0-6-2 overall here. Their experiences at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa -- aka the Purple Monster and Cave -- have been a nightmare with a 0-5-1 record.

"They're a team that plays extremely well at home," U.S. forward Brian Ching said. "They feed off their fans and make it a difficult place to play."

The team won't have much time to catch its breath as it will fly to Chicago for Saturday's WCQ encounter with a well-rested Honduras as the U.S. hits the mid-point of its 10-game schedule.

"Our mindset is if we can get four or six points out of the next two games, we are close to our goal," Donovan said.


   
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