Meaningful international soccer competition came to Orlando's Camping World Stadium in Game 2 of the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Costa Rica and Paraguay completed the first round of Group A play in front of a meager crowd of 14,334 on a hot, humid day in the City Beautiful, finishing in a 0-0 draw.
Neither team mounted much of an attack in a game that was spirited and, at times, entertaining as the two sides played the majority of the game between the boxes in a result that leaves the United States at the bottom of Group A at the end of one round. Still, a scoreless draw is not the worst result for the Americans, who still have both these teams to play.
Neither of these sides will be able to get a result against Colombia should they play like this throughout the group phase.
The Ticos came out in a 5-4-1 formation, which Paraguay countered with a 4-4-2 that aligned as more of a 4-2-2-2. Neither team could do much against the other, with crosses and shots typically getting deflected or blocked and the majority of the match being played in the middle third of the grass pitch over top of the usual artificial one at Camping World Stadium.
The second half of the match saw little in the way of clear chances. Arsenal's Joel Campbell found himself on the ball in the box in the 66th minute but his effort was blocked by a sliding Miguel Samudio for Paraguay, nullifying the best chance for either side in the second period.
Second-half substitute Nelson Valdez, who plies his trade in Seattle, got Paraguay's best opportunity in the 71st, getting his foot to a corner kick cross. Valdez didn't get much of a touch on it but it still forced a diving save by Costa Rica goalkeeper Patrick Pemberton.
That was just about all the solid chances for the second half, although Kendall Waston got a weak header on frame off a corner in the 79th and Christian Bolanos sent in a blast in the 87th that forced goalkeeper Justo Villar to parry dangerously out for a corner. Those final flurries for Costa Rica were the last good chances for either side. All that was left was a red card for Waston for a flagrant foul in the 94th, meaning the Whitecaps' defender will miss the game against the USMNT next week.
It was a probing opening half for both teams, with Paraguay getting into more dangerous areas than the Costa Ricans. Jorge Benitez was sent in on goal 13 minutes in for Paraguay but he tried to cross instead of shooting. On the ensuing corner, Paulo Da Silva's header drifted just wide of the far post.
The Costa Ricans fashioned their first good chance in the 17th minute when Derlis Gonzalez conceded a free kick in the Ticos' attacking third. Campbell got a free header on the cross but his effort was straight at Villar.
Dario Lezcano got into the box in the 23rd minute but his shot was blocked. Four minutes later he broke free and put the ball in the net past an unconvincing Patrick Pemberton but the play was offside.
The rest of the first half provided little attacking menace. New York City FC's Ronald Matarrita played a cross for Costa Rica but it was right at Villar in the 41st minute. Benitez tried a long shot for Paraguay in the 44th but his rocket was well wide of target.
The teams went into the locker rooms scoreless, but Paraguay was the better side in the first period, possessing the ball 53% of the time, a 5-1 advantage in corner kicks, and fashioning the more dangerous attacks. Still, the Albirrojo held just a 3-2 edge in shots and were offside twice.
In the end, neither side really deserved all three points, so it was probably a fair result. Each team mustered just five shots, although the Ticos got four of their five on target while Paraguay only troubled Pemberton once. But at least the stadium looked nice.
Costa Rica will face the USMNT in Chicago on Tuesday, while Paraguay will travel to Pasadena, CA, to take on group-leading Colombia.
The next match in Orlando will take place Monday, when Panama and Bolivia visit Camping World Stadium for a Group D battle.