New York City FC enjoyed a relatively successful campaign in 2017, finishing second behind runaway leaders Toronto FC in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. Since joining the league back in 2015, the Pigeons have matured into an elite organisation and Patrick Vieira, now head coach at Yankee Stadium, will be quietly confident of leading his side to MLS glory in the not-so-distant future.
But firstly, we have a World Cup fast approaching and a few of New York City’s players will go off to represent their respective nations on the biggest stage of all. Rodney Wallace and Ronald Matarrita, two key figures for New York City in 2017, could be selected to feature for Costa Rica this summer. The latter actually scored two goals during the World Cup qualifying campaign and he will be central to Oscar Ramirez’s plans.
— Ronald Matarrita (@MatarritaRonald) February 2, 2018
Firstly, let’s discuss Matarrita. He made just seven appearances for New York City in 2017 and that doesn’t bode well for his future with the franchise. After being named as NYCFC’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016, most fans expected Matarrita to mature into a reliable talent. Still, he is only 23 years old and time is on his side. Costa Rica will almost certainly take him to Russia this summer…
Wallace struggled alongside former Spain striker David Villa at times last season but the 29-year-old did manage to bag four goals for New York City in 2017. Costa Rica will be expecting big things from Wallace and he needs a big performance or two to regain his mojo. His last international goal came way back in 2017 but confidence is key to his game – a couple of positive efforts could catapult him into the starting line-up.
Looking directly at Costa Rica’s group for the competition, you could argue that Ramirez’s men are well placed to advance to the last-16. Brazil are favourites to win Group E this summer but Costa Rica could shock Serbia and Switzerland if the two European nations are off their game. From there, who knows – Premier League fans will remember Leicester’s miraculous title triumph and Costa Rica could do a Leicester.
As of February 4th, Costa Rica are a 500/1 chance to win with bookmakers on Oddschecker and plenty of punters will be keeping a close eye on the New York City duo as the race for squad selection heats up. Matarrita and Wallace will both be confident of securing a spot in the tournament but neither man can take his place for granted; Ramirez will not allow any passengers in the Costa Rica side.
NYCFC will be expecting to challenge for MLS glory in 2018 and Costa Rica will be looking to do an entire nation proud when they travel to Russia. Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia all pose a tough test for Costa Rica but Oscar Ramirez’s men can get the job done. Rodney Wallace and Ronald Matarrita could be difference makers if selected for the tournament.