Costa Rica And Paraguay Play To Scoreless Draw

Costa Rica and Paraguay began their respective Copa America Centenario campaigns with a point apiece after a 0-0 draw in Orlando, Florida on Saturday afternoon. Los Ticos and La Albirroja created few chances in their opening draw at the Citrus Bowl, with each side unable to truly test the opposing goalkeeper.

Scoring opportunities were at a premium throughout the match, played in very hot conditions in Orlando. In fact, temperatures were so high that FIFA-mandated water breaks were taken midway through each half of play.

In the first half, Paraguay’s best chances came by way of set pieces, with defender Paulo Da Silva heading just wide of the Costa Rican goal inside the first 15 minutes.  Costa Rica also had a headed effort nearly result in a goal in the early stages, as Bryan Ruiz’s header from a Joel Campbell free kick was straight at Paraguayan goalkeeper Justo Villar.

Costa Rica had the better opportunities to break the deadlock in the second half, with their best attempts on goal coming in the game’s final 20 minutes. Christian Bolanos and Kendall Waston, both of MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps, each tested Villar in the Paraguay net, but the Colo-Colo goalkeeper was equal to both efforts.

The significant takeaway from the match though will be the red card shown to Waston during stoppage time, as the Costa Rican defender received a second yellow card for a challenge on Paraguay’s Nelson Valdez as he led a counterattack. This means that Waston will be unavailable for selection when Costa Rica plays next, against the United States on Tuesday night at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Paraguay will face Group A favorites Colombia next, also on Tuesday night, although their match will be the late kickoff from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

After the opening round of matches in Group A, Colombia top the group with three points, Costa Rica and Paraguay are each on one point and the United States are bottom with zero points.

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