Centro Cultural to be refuge for U.S. soccer fans

A little nervous about watching the U.S.-Costa Rica soccer game Friday night among Ticos who still are fuming about the big loss in the Denver snowbowl?

Well, the Centro Cultural Costarricense  Norteamericano will show the game to what is expected to be a friendly crowd. Admission is just 1,000 colons a person, about $2. The Centro promises a big screen in the Teatro Eugene O’Neill at its Los Yoses facilities.

Reservations are asked at 2207-7594. The game begins at 6:30 p.m, and there is little likelihood of blizzard conditions at the Estadio Nacional in Sabana Norte as there was during the last encounter between the two teams.

The admission fees will go to the  2014 National Conference for Teachers of English, said the U.S. Embassy, which posted the notice on its Web site.

Many Costa Ricans attribute the loss last March in Commerce City, Colorado, to a bad decision by game officials to avoid stopping the match because of heavy snow. Commentators and fans have been livid since.

The Fuerza Pública said that 400 officers will be  on the job at game time along with drug-sniffing dogs. There also will be a large number of private security guards.

Police will close off the stadium at 10 a.m. Friday to avoid any incidents.  Juan José Andrade, the director of the Fuerza Pública, said that police had confidence in the education and pacifism of Costa Ricans.

That does not appear to be the mood on the street, and some fans are promising protests or more direct action.  Andrade is not taking any chances and has enlisted the aid of the Cuerpo de Bomberos, the Cruz Roja and the Ministerio de Salud, as well as the U.S. Embassy, according to a summary of police plans released Wednesday.

There even will be at least 20 mounted police, too. And officers will maintain security long after the game has ended, Andrade said.

Still, it would be an unwise Gringo to taunt Tico fans with a big display of the U.S. colors. Equally unwise might be dropping by the local bar to root for the U.S. team.

Such will not be the case at the Centro Cultural, and the announcement promised that food would be available. The Centro staff is likely to frown on beer coolers.

The game last March 22 was unusual for a soccer match. The officials said they continued the game because both teams had other matches a few days later.

Both Costa Rica and the U.S. team appear to be headed to the World Cup in Brazil next year, but the U.S. still is in the lead in the standings.

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