First international call-up for Rodney Wallace a dream come true

Wallace ready for first matches for Costa Rica

Getting the opportunity to play for your country is something every young soccer player dreams of. For Timbers defender Rodney Wallace, those dreams came to life, receiving his first international call-up for his native Costa Rica to play in international friendlies against the U.S. and Ecuador.

“It’s something special, it’s something you always look forward too when you’re a young player.” Wallace said. “Especially growing up in Costa Rica, where soccer is the number one sport and they’re so passionate, it’s just a great honor to be called upon.”

Wallace joined his Costa Rica teammates in Los Angeles earlier this week in preparation for tonight’s matchup against the United States at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.; the two sides will be play before a national TV audience on ESPN2. Costa Rica will then travel to South America for the second of the two friendlies to take on Ecuador.

“It’s something special that I’m playing against the U.S., a country that’s given me so much,” Wallace said. “Playing for Costa Rica, I just get that feeling inside because that’s my country, that’s where I was born, so it’s definitely something exciting.”

Even with the nationally televised matchup against the United States looming, the calm, cool and collected defender isn’t letting any of the emotions surrounding the occasion be a distraction from the task at hand.

“I’m sure it will all sink in [once I get there],” Wallace said. “It’s my first go at it so I don’t really know what to expect. I’ve just got to maintain my focus and go out there and do what I have to do to be at my 100 percent.”

In the first match under interim head coach Ronald Gonzalez, Costa Rica faces the United States for the 29th time in international competition Friday, tying Costa Rica with Canada for second on the USA’s list of most matches played against one country. The all-time series between the two countries is deadlocked at 11-11-6, with Costa Rica outscoring the U.S. 34-31.

The U.S. has made the most of its home field advantage, holding an 11-3-4 record against Costa Rica while playing on American soil. The match will be the first friendly between the two teams since 1995, a meeting Costa Rica won 2-1 in Tampa, Fla.