The Belize Jaguars arrived at the Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy Utah this afternoon at 4:15 pm - almost exactly 24 hours before their game two against Costa Rica in the 2013 Gold Cup . It's the home stadium of the Real ("Re-Al") Salt Lake MLS Soccer Team, a natural grass field in a stadium which seats twenty thousand. We caught the team on arrival and they were upbeat.
Ashley Torres - Defender
"Yes we're ready, we're all here trying to prepare ourselves for tomorrow's game."
Ian Gaynair - Defender
"This entire stadium reminds me Costa Rica because it looks similar to Costa Rica one so I think we could even beat Costa Rica here."
"How do you feel about the natural turf?"
"Well that's what I'm used to so I think it's like an advantage for us because we're not used to artificial turf so I think we'll have a much better match playing on natural turf."
The biggest change for tomorrow's game is that Coach Ian Mork has rotated his goalkeepers. Shane Orio started last game, but this time, the starter will be Woodrow West, who faced the same Costa Rican team in the Copa Ceontroamericana two months ago. This evening at a press conference at the stadium, West and the Coach discussed his starting role:
Ian Mork - Head Coach, Belize Team
"I think I made that announcement at one point before we came here that we're rotating the keepers."
Shane Orio - Starting Goalkeeper, Belize vs. USA
"Again we're just continuing and we need for Woodrow to get ready because tomorrow will be - maybe not an intense game as it was on Tuesday - but a very important game for the country."
"Is it sort of a toss up because both of you have familiarity with Costa Rican side - you playing there professionally and he having played nationally against that team a few months ago?"
"Again I don't know if it's a toss up because I mean at the end of the day if Woodrow plays - the country needs to be behind him and if I play I think the country should be behind me."
Woodrow West - Starting Goalkeeper, Belize vs. Costa Rica
"I respect Costa Rica a lot - they are a very good team, they know to bring the pain (like we say in football) and I'm here willing to support my team 100% and as long as we work as a group we could give them a good game and hopefully get the results that we want. Knowing that you know some of the players and you know some of their movements and studying the team a lot and physically playing against them almost two months ago - yes you have that confidence more than anything to play against them."
Mork and West also discussed the strategy they will employ against Costa Rica. Coach says he expects the team to come out much differently than they did against the US team three days ago.
Ian Mork - Head Coach, Belize Team
"I just think it's going to be a completely different story playing against Costa Rica - I would expect us to be ready at the very beginning of this match. We've prepared to play against their style of play. Obviously as a team we're very familiar with Costa Rica, we've play them a lot of times in the past and then in this last Nation's Cup. The current squad - we see them as being very strong and obviously they are a favorite to get through into the final rounds too. We're anticipating a very difficult match tomorrow. We're also going to have to play a bit differently in this next match because of our opponent so you know we're going to try and step pass that and ultimately it should bring some more unity into our group. We all love Danny very much and we're supporting his family and so we're just trying to look froward to what we have to do in the match. But it's never an easy situation when you're missing one of your top players."
"I think it's going to be a hard game still but the players are feeling much better playing against Costa Rica - we know what we're capable of doing. We also believe in ourselves and we respect Costa Rica a lot and we still have a high hope of giving them a good game
Later on we'll have comments from the Coach of the Costa Rica team Jorge Luis Pinto who explains how he’s approaching the game against Belize.