Celso Borges and Deportivo La Coruña are looking to avoid relegation, while two more Ticos potentially go head to head in Spain. Eduardo Mendez has the three matches you should be watching this weekend.
Not everyone has time to dedicate their lives to soccer, let alone Costa Rican soccer. You have bills to pay and episodes of Atlanta to catch up with.
So with zero overlap, here is your guide to the best action this weekend featuring Costa Rican talent.
Deportivo La Coruña vs. Las Palmas
8 a.m. (all times Eastern)
beIN Sports Connect, fuboTV
There’s nothing better than desperation in the face of relegation. It often leads to absolute shit shows, train wrecks you can’t help but watch. Both Deportivo and Las Palmas enter Week 29 in the relegation zone. The hosts are five points from safety — 19 points in total — while the visitors are just a point better with 20.
Levante (24) are the only team within reach.
Three points are vital for anyone looking to escape the dreaded drop zone. Borges and Deportivo have the advantage playing in front of a home crowd…except they don’t.
They are winless in their last six league home matches, and winless overall in their last 13 league matches. The last time they tasted three points was Dec. 9, 2017, a 1-0 win over Leganés. It’s time to fish or cut bait for the Branquiazuis.
Real Betis vs. Espanyol
beIN Sports en Español
This is more hope than anything. There’s no guarantee Joel Campbell sees the field, but he did make the 18 in Betis’ 3-1 win over Deportivo Alavés last week. The possibility of seeing him feature for even just five minutes is promising enough for any Tico.
Especially with Oscar Duarte on the other side.
The forgotten center back — mainly due to injury — is finally seeing consistent minutes with Espanyol, going the full 90 in each of the club’s last four league matches. Even if Campbell remains on the bench, you can look forward to another 90 from Duarte in defense.
Sporting Lisbon vs. Rio Ave
Lisbon’s title hopes were dashed following their 2-1 loss to Porto two weeks ago — they sit five points behind entering Week 27 — but qualification for the Champions League is very much alive. Benfica are just three points clear of the Leões.
Bryan Ruiz went the full 90 in Thursday’s Europa League loss to Viktoria Plzen — Lisbon still advanced to the quarterfinals with a 3-2 aggregate win — and is finding consistent form after being out of favor to start the season.
He’ll look to maintain that form ahead of next week’s international friendlies.
Best of the Rest
NYCFC vs. Orlando City
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
This match would’ve been in my top three matches to watch this weekend, but NYCFC continues to start Ben Sweat in favor of Ronald Matarrita. Rodney Wallace — who will feature for La Sele in this month’s friendlies — isn’t enough to tilt my meter.
Don’t Forget About Domestic
Saprissa vs. Herediano
Sunday, 1 p.m.
You’d be foolish to pass up the opportunity to watch the top two clubs in Costa Rica go head to head on Sunday. Saprissa (29) enter Week 16 just one point clear of Herediano (28).
As if that wasn’t enticing enough, both Johan Venegas and Christian Bolaños will look to send Oscar Ramirez a message. The pair were left out of the 23-man roster Machillo unveiled on Thursday.
Which matches will you be watching this weekend? Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @theoriginaltico.