Costa Rica’s World Cup run creates buzz for Central American Nation

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Costa Rica went to the knockout round of 16 in their very first World Cup appearance, but 2014 proved to be their most successful tournament yet.  They beat Greece 5-3 on penalty kicks in extra time to advance to the round of eight for the first time ever. And they fought extremely hard in the quarter-final round, finally being vanquished on penalty kicks. Yes, coming within inches of making the sem-finals was HUGE for Costa Rica.

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Catching up with the Fire’s Gonzalo Segares, our favorite Costa Rican athlete in Chicago

Since we interviewed Gonzalo Segares just one year ago, much has changed for both parties. The Sports Bank has seen vast changes in its readership- so far in August, the site has already accumulated three times as many views as it received in all of August 2009, and there are still ten days left in the month.

Segares‘ life changed dramatically as well. At this point last year, the Costa Rican international had spent his entire professional career playing in MLS with the Chicago Fire. Yet after the 2009 season, “Sega” left Chicago to get a taste of European football, signing with Apollon Limassol in Cyprus.

By Sam Svoboda

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U.S. Soccer Star Injuries Revealed

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By Alex Simon

After 5 hours of surgery, it has been revealed that USMNT forward Charlie Davies has fractures to the right tibia/femur, left elbow, facial fractures and a lacerated bladder.

Davies injuries were the result of a fatal 3 am crash Tuesday morning in Virginia.

Davies was in the passenger seat when, the driver whom they did not identify, apparently lost control of the vehicle, which hit a guard rail and split in half.  The other passenger in Davies car, Ashley J. Roberta, 22, was killed in the crash.

The U.S. soccer team was at an all-time high coming off of last Saturday night’s victory over Honduras in World Cup qualifying.  The win guaranteed the U.S. a spot in next year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Aware of the news, USMNT coach Bob Bradley spoke after a national squad training session in preparation for Thursday night’s World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.

“Obviously, as a team we are saddened to learn this news.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Charlie and his family, as well as the people in the car and the families of the others involved.  As a team, we are relying on each other in a moment that has for sure hit us all hard.”

Given the extent of Davies injuries, the initial thinking is that Davies will not be ready for South Africa next year.

In the last year, the 23-year-old Davies has emerged as the team’s starting forward. Davies has also been a regular for his new team Sochaux, a division 1 team in France.

With Davies late form as well as his chemistry with teammate Jozy Altidore up top, Davies was a lock to be a starter for the U.S. team in the 2010 World Cup.  Davies is without a doubt the fastest player on the USMNT and has scored some vital goals for his country of late, including a goal in the Confederation Cup against Egypt, in addition to scoring against Mexico in Azteca.

Fire tie TFC, another disappointing 2-2 performance

Justin MappDeRo

By Alex Simon

It was an ugly performance by both teams’ backlines Saturday night.  However, a late inexcusable mistake by a Fire substitute let the visiting TFC (Toronto FC) side off the hook.  Thus, the Fire played to a 2-2 tie against Toronto.

While Chicago’s playmaker Cuauhtémoc Blanco was sidelined with a strained hamstring, TFC’s star player, DeRo (Dwayne De Rosario), made his presence felt from the get-go.  In the 6th minute, DeRo scored off a defensive blunder by C.J. Brown and Wilman Conde.

“We’re gift wrapping goals. It’s like Christmas time. If they beat us with a good goal, fair enough, but quit giving away easy goals and putting ourselves behind the eight-ball. That’s the bottom line,” said Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch after the match.

DeRo was able to pick apart the shaky Fire defense once again, this time coming in the first minute of the second half.  The Fire D failed to get back on a TFC counterattack as DeRo sent a beautiful cross in the box, scored by unmarked ex-Fire forward Chad Barrett.

Fortunately for the Fire, as bad as their defense was, Toronto’s Nick Garcia was worse.  The Fire’s first goal came on a TFC own goal in the 14th minute, when Garcia chested the ball into his own net.  Then in the 78th minute, Garcia was caught ball watching and left Brian McBride wide open for the easy header from a Justin Mapp cross, equalizing the game at 2-2.  (Garcia’s lackadaisicalness on McBride’s goal was frighteningly similar to an Eddy Curry box out). mcbride

The Fire had several scoring opportunities late in the game.  None would be as good as the one the Fire had in the last play of the game.  With the game level 2-2 in the 93rd, Fire forward Patrick Nyarko beat his defender and passed to a running teammate.  Unfortunately, that teammate was late sub, Calen Carr.  With the goalie nowhere to be found, Carr just needed a simple tap in from a foot away from goal to be the hero.  Carr hit the ball wide of the goal, leaving 16,890 Fire faithful dejected with how the game ended.

Chicago vs Toronto Highlights 9/26/09

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly against TFC

The Good

Justin Mapp:
He was tremendous.  This was the best I have seen Mapp play since the Soldier Field days.  IF Mapp can play at a similar level in the remaining games of the regular season, he can expect major minutes in the playoffs.

Brian McBride:
Back in August, team doctors thought McBride would be out for the season after having shoulder surgery.  “Superman” is back and most importantly, healthy.  I asked McBride how the shoulder felt after last week’s game against Columbus, saying the shoulder was a non-issue.  He proved that against Toronto, giving TFC fits all night.

The Bad

Injuries:

With only three games remaining in the season, now is not the time to be dealing with injuries with the playoffs coming up.  Rolfe was a late scratch but the Fire said it was just precautionary.  Ward and Woolard are still out, but players I think we can do without.  Although Banner played well at left back, a healthy Segares is a major step up.  The same goes for Thorrington.  Not only is Thorrington a good player, but also provides toughness and grit that this team is lacking without him.  With Soumare gone, Thorrington would be a huge help to Conde and C.J.  With that said, if Blanco is not ready to go come playoff time, it does not matter how the other Fire injuries play out.  Blanco is without question our best and most valuable player, and without him, there will be NO deep playoff run.

The Ugly

The D:

The Calen Carr rant and why the f#$% Hamlet put him in the game to begin with is ridiculous, but I think and pray that the Calen Carr era is over. (Carr’s miss was equivalent to a kicker missing an extra point to win the game)  Carr won’t matter in the playoffs, but the defense will, and they really need to figure their s— out.