USMNT - Panama - Lineup - 1.28.19
U.S. Soccer/ISI Photos

Porter: 'Not many teams have three players on the U.S. National Team'

Columbus Crew SC players Zack Steffen, Wil Trapp, and Gyasi Zardes look to lead the U.S. Men’s National achieve a 16th all-time victory against Costa Rica on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 3:30 p.m. (FOX, UniMás, UDN) at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif., as Los Ticos hold a 16-15-6 historical edge against the Stars and Stripes.

The Black & Gold trio marks the most representation of any club on the MNT’s January Camp roster, while Zardes’ 41 career caps stand as the second-most of any player on the current roster.

Costa Rica is currently ranked 36th in the FIFA World Rankings, and the USA holds a 15-6-4 advantage on home soil, last defeating Los Ticos, 2-0, in the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal.

“It’ll be a good test for us,” Trapp said. “Continuing to push our level, continuing to play against ever-increasing good opponents, so I think it’s a good step for us.”

The MNT enters the match with an average age of just under 25 years old, with four players still eligible to make their MNT debut. As for Costa Rica, the roster poses a range of experience.

“It’s a mixed bag of some experienced players and some younger players,” Trapp said. “They are an aggressive team, they have a lot of experience in their group as well, and it will be a good test for us.”

Zardes and Steffen each earned a start against Panama on Jan. 27, while Trapp subbed on in the 86th minute.

Crew SC Head Coach Caleb Porter spoke about the prestige and the value in Club players representing their country, and what it means for them as individuals as well as the rest of the team.

“It’s great to see Crew players, not many teams have three players on the U.S. National Team, so it’s great for them,” Porter said. “I’ve always felt when they go with the National Team, while we lose their services, and we obviously maybe drop a notch in level, it helps because now guys in our group have to step up, so it raises our level and it raises their level because they’re there in a really top environment, and then when they come back, they’re better and we’re better and the team’s better.”

In their last meeting, Costa Rica came away with a 2-0 win on Sept. 1, 2017 in Harrison, N.J. as part of the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying. The match marks the final friendly of the MNT’s annual January Camp.

As for the Crew, the squad continues its preseason slate against LAFC at Banc of California Stadium on Monday, Feb. 4 at 5 p.m. ET.

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