SAN JOSE, Costa Rica -- United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann is convinced that his team can make history and beat Costa Rica in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier between the CONCACAF rivals at Estadio Nacional.
The Americans have never won a qualifier in the Central American country. In fact, they've lost all but one competitive away games against the Ticos, posting an all-time record of eight losses and one draw. Yet Klinsmann, who led the Americans to their first victories in Germany, Italy, Mexico and the Netherlands during his five-plus years at the helm, doesn't see any reason his squad can't flip the script this time around.
"We can win here," Klinsmann told a small group of reporters at the U.S. hotel on Monday. "We can absolutely win here. Will it take a lot of effort and things need[ing] to click to work? Absolutely."
The U.S. lost to Mexico last week in Columbus, Ohio, adding more pressure against Costa Rica. But the Yanks trounced the Ticos when the teams last met, winning 4-0 in the group stage of June's Copa America Centenario. Klinsmann contended that the U.S. should have gotten at least a point against El Tri.
Mexico ended up taking all three after Rafa Marquez scored on an 89th-minute header.
"We should've beaten Mexico," Klinsmann said. "We didn't knock them off with the second goal and then out of the blue they get a corner kick and then [on an] individual mistake, they score. There's a very small margin in all of those games."
The error the German coach was referring to was made my John Brooks, who lost Marquez on the decisive play, leaving him open to nod the winner past U.S. keeper Brad Guzan.
"He's angry at himself," Klinsmann said of Brooks. "He said in front of the team, 'My bad.'"
A victory on Tuesday would go a long way toward restoring the good feelings within the American squad.
"We all understand we need points in order to qualify," Klinsmann said. "That first game, the result it [hurts]. And it puts it on the spot for tomorrow night. We all know that. Players know that, the staff knows that.
"But it's doable. It's absolutely doable."