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Early Argentina, Dutch survive

Five Aside
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Costa Rica could be Gold Cup dark horse contenders

Joel Campbell, left, and Bryan Ruiz, right, aim to lead Costa Rica to its first CONCACAF title since 1989.

It seems like it would be too soon to forget Costa Rica's inspiring and exciting run in the 2014 World Cup, but that remains the most plausible explanation for the team being so lightly regarded in the upcoming Gold Cup tournament. Many, including the Mexico and United States squads themselves, seem to believe that these two are destined to meet in the final yet again and have dismissed the chances of any other CONCACAF team to claim the title.

It's odd partly because besides impressing with a run...

 By Tom Marshall

In a tale of two halves, Mexico salvage a draw against Costa Rica

Mexico came back from behind after Javier Hernandez equaled the lead in second half, as Mexico played to a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica in Orlando.
ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno breaks down Mexico's 2-2 draw with Costa Rica, where Mexico came back from 2-0 down to tie in the second half.

ORLANDO -- Mexico came back from 2-0 down at halftime to tie Costa Rica 2-2 on Saturday in El Tri's first preparation game for next month's Gold Cup.

Javier Hernandez netted the equalizer in the 55th minute with a header just two minutes after Giovani Dos Santos had finished to pull Mexico within a goal of Costa Rica.

Los Ticos took the lead through David Ramirez in the fourth and doubled it in the 36th, when Miguel Layun turned the ball into his own net.

Here are our three takes on the match:

1....

Mexico's strong break puts them back atop the CONCACAF Power Rankings

Mexico's Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez spoke to ESPN FC's John Sutcliffe following his side's international friendly win over Ecuador, and noted the importance of team development in these types of matches.

With the Gold Cup just three months away, time is of the essence for the nations of CONCACAF who are seeking to go into the tournament on a high. The first FIFA international dates of 2015 are in the books, so it's time to revisit the ESPN FC CONCACAF Power Rankings.

1. Mexico

El Tri move up to the top spot of the CONCACAF Power Rankings after ending 2014 in second. Miguel Herrera's squad collected dual 1-0 wins during the break over Ecuador and Paraguay, and fans got glimpses of what Mexico's...

CONCACAF Power Rankings: Costa Rica on top

United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann thinks his team need to get tougher following their 4-1 loss to Ireland in Dublin.

The 2014 international year is in the books and by the time the nations of CONCACAF resume action in March, the 2015 Gold Cup will be just a few months away.

Since the World Cup, several countries' performances have improved noticeably while others have declined. In the great spirit of the CONCACAF Hexagonal, it only makes sense for ESPN FC to debut its regional Power Rankings with its top six teams, plus a list of ones to watch come 2015.

1. Costa Rica

Cue the arched eyebrows and quizzical looks....

A week's worth of watching the international 'week of football'

Paul mariner picks the best 5 goals he saw this weekend.

With the novelty of the "Week of Football" wearing off, ESPN FC asked Iain Macintosh to watch as many games as he possibly could and tell us whether he still thought it was a good idea at the end. Here's what he made of it all. -- FC editors

Wednesday, Nov. 12

Turkey vs. Brazil

For some reason impossible to comprehend, British broadcasters have no interest in a relatively meaningless exhibition game between two foreign nations, but we are made of sturdy stuff at ESPN FC, and lights are cast upon...

 By Matt Levin

Bitter end as Pinto exits Costa Rica

His departure was expected. Jorge Luis Pinto's name had been linked to other jobs. When Costa Rica fans thanked the coach and asked him to stay, Pinto always sounded appreciative and frequently teared up. But he never made any promises, saying at the team's homecoming parade: "I'll always carry this memory in my heart." The 61-year-old Colombian sounded like a man in search of a new challenge.

So it wasn't a surprise when Fedefut -- the Costa Rican Football Federation -- failed to re-sign Pinto after...