Wednesday, June 06, 2007

CONCACAF Gold Cup 2007

Yes, it's that time again. The best teams from North America, Central American, and the Caribbean get together to determine the best team in the confederation via the Gold Cup, which starts today. Peter Goldstein at Planet World Cup has the best preview, while Ives gives it a go as well. The big news this time is that there are no longer any guest teams in the tournament. That's great news, as no longer can we be embarrassed by the likes of South Korea or Brazil's U-23 squad doing well in OUR continental championship. CONCACAF tournaments should develop CONCACAF teams. Of course, the USA and Mexico shouldn't be in the Copa America either, and we all know that a combined North/South American cup would be the best option.

Enough about that, let's not get sidetracked. This is Bob Bradley's first real test, and unfortunately for him success won't change many opinions; winning the tournament is expected. The only way he'll really prove something is if we play Mexico and beat them on the way to the title.

I expect to see the following lineup for the USA:

Howard, Bornstein, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Hejduk, Beasley, Clark, Mastroeni, Dempsey, Donovan, Johnson.

Howard was named the starter by Bradley. The center backs are obvious choices, while Bornstein has played well in friendlies. I have Hejduk starting because he seems to be the epitome of the mystical "veteran leadership" you always hear about. He's also probably a better offensive weapon than the other two (Spector/Simek), and with the weak opposition he can get forward a lot. But would he even be here if Chris Albright was healthy? Bradley and Feilhaber are very good young prospects. Having said that, our strongest central midfield pairing is currently Clark-Mastroeni, and Bradley likes it too (see the Mexico game). Johnson is too hot to sit, while Donovan will always be on the field.

I just read last night that Mastroeni is suspended for the first two games, stemming from his World Cup red card. Remember how he got banned for a couple additional games? I didn't. At least he can serve it here and not in World Cup qualifying. Fielhaber will probably step in.

Interesting notes:

1) The most interesting player to see (by far) will be Guadalupe's Jocelyn Angloma, a former French international who played for them in Euro 1996. Can he still play well at 41? He better, if they want to have any chance at all. Everyone also seems excited about Panama's Blas Perez, who just scored two goals against Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores. I'll be excited to see Amado Guevara back in action again, as well (you traitor).

2) Have you been wondering what Keyeno Thomas has been up to ever since his 2000 stint with the Colorado Rapids? Me neither. But he's here as part of Trinidad's squad, along with fellow middling ex-MLSer Gary Glasgow. The Soca Warriors will be fielding a very weak squad due to disputes with their World Cup veterans; all but one player is local. From the USA perspective, it's likely we'll see Keller and the rest of the reserves in the USA-TRI match.

MLSnet has a rundown of former players in the tournament here.

3) Despite the Trinidad situation, overall it seems like this tournament is being taken more seriously by all involved. No surprise since the 2005 version was in the middle of World Cup qualifying, and also since we don't have a second string Colombian side like usual. I talked about the lack of guest teams earlier. Interestingly, they only had a record of 16-16-12 in all editions of the tournament. So they didn't dominate the tournament, despite three finishing as runners up.

4) Last time, we saw the group format changed from 4 group of 3 teams to 3 groups of 4 teams. Now we have the elimination of guest teams. Two great decisions in a row. What's up at CONCACAF, is Jack Warner asleep or something? What's next, holding it every four years like it should be? Or having a real draw and not just placing teams in certain cities (Haiti = Miami)?

5) The golden boot winner, who will it be? I would say that this time an American should win it again, due to the weakness of our group compared to Mexico.

Previous winners

1991-Benjamin Galindo (MEX)
1993-Zaguinho (MEX)
1996-Eric Wynalda (USA)
1998-Luis Hernandez (MEX) & Paulo Wanchope (CR)
2000-Carlo Corazzin (CAN)
2002-Brian McBride (USA)
2003-Walter Centeno (CR) & Landon Donovan (USA)
2005-DaMarcus Beasley (USA)

For 2005, I believe for the first time they used assists as the tiebreaker (which FIFA started doing a few years ago). So that's why Beasley won it.

6) It's too easy to give predictions (USA vs MEX final anyone?), so here's how I feel the teams rank on paper:

1. Mexico
2. United States
3. Costa Rica
4. Honduras
5. Panama
6. Canada
7. Guatemala
8. Haiti
9. El Salvador
10. Trinidad & Tobago
11. Cuba
12. Guadalupe

Comments on "CONCACAF Gold Cup 2007"

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:25 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

How do you have Mexico one and US two? Just use basic logic and you would have to give the edge to the US. Not that I would hand the trophy to them right now but they have beaten Mexico 8 out the last 9 times they played. You sound like the Mexican fans who always blame God or the ref or the field or the weather or the fans or the cleats for them losing to the US.

 

Anonymous Michael Juby said ... (10:53 PM, June 07, 2007) : 

Mexico on there day plays like a world power, like a top 5 team, unparralleled class and precision and passion. The US even on it's day lacks that final polish, they may be able to play like a top 15 team or even top ten but they've never been the cream of the crop, it'll take a few more years for the americans to hit the highs mexico is capable of.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (7:20 PM, June 09, 2007) : 

Your argument is that they play like a top 5 team against everybody else but what about against the US? Other then in Mexico, they struggle to look like a top 25 team against a lot of teams but they beat Angola and Iran and they are great. It does not make sense!

 

Anonymous Michael Juby said ... (11:12 PM, June 09, 2007) : 

huh, I didn't say that at all, I said on there day, ie them at full potential, where did I say agaisnt everyone but the US? they played poorly against alot of teams, so has the US (couldn't beat us (canada) last year), you can even take a some mexican losses and put them against american wins and mexico still plays better (mexico vs argentina.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (5:47 AM, June 11, 2007) : 

Can anyone tells us the Table Rules that governs the Gold Cup 2007?..ie (eg.in case we hav 2 team with the same points within a group etc)

 

Anonymous Ryan said ... (4:21 PM, June 12, 2007) : 

A Mexican loss against a US win??? If you're gonna go there, how about the USA v. Italy in the World Cup. Even Georgio Chingala admitted the Americans played very well despite questionable officiating. Mexico and the US are close, no doubt, but the US has to be favored given recent results against Mexico and Mexico's poor play in the Gold Cup. Maybe Canada's free (read: crappy) health care needs to fix your brain.

 

Anonymous Michael Juby said ... (3:26 AM, June 13, 2007) : 

well your a dumbass cause mexico played twice as well against argentina as the american's did against italy, the americans played well but don't blow smoke up your own ass guy.

 

Anonymous Ryan said ... (7:20 PM, June 13, 2007) : 

How can you compare how "well" a team plays. Playing well should be getting a result, something Mexico failed to do against Argentina.

 

Anonymous Michael Juby said ... (10:47 PM, June 13, 2007) : 

naw man, playing well is easy to be seen, if a team plays some amazingly beautiful football and meets up with amazing defending or can't finish that game, it's still a great team and most people would be more impressed with a lively loss then an amatuerish win

 

Anonymous Ryan said ... (1:46 PM, June 14, 2007) : 

I don't think anyone will accuse Mexico of playing beautiful football.

 

Anonymous Michael Juby said ... (6:28 PM, June 14, 2007) : 

?? that's just dumb, mexico has played some of the best football the WORLD has ever seen ?? do you watch football or do you just nerd out on box scores??

 

Anonymous Ryan said ... (7:57 PM, June 14, 2007) : 

To even compare Mexico to the likes of the "beautiful" football of Brazil and even Argentina is an insult to those countries. Why are you so high on Mexico? They haven't been playing well and I know you REALLY like them, but what is your deal? Why do you keep defending a mediocre team? Call the Americans amateurish all you want, but football is a results business, buddy.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:01 PM, June 14, 2007) : 

Yes Mexico "had" played some of the best football until not to long ago. But the way they are making themselves look in the Gold Cup is just embarrasing. They and their fans just don't know how to lose. Mexico should accept that teams such as Honduras (who beat them and end it up taking first in group C), Panama and others have brough a superior soccer then they have this time around. Mexico its just not what a use to be, now instead of bringing a descent soccer what they did and always have brough is excuses every time they lose. Mexican fans and the coach always "blame God or the ref or the field or the weather or the fans or the cleats for them losing."

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:03 PM, June 14, 2007) : 

The United States its superior to Mexico any given day!!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (8:10 AM, June 17, 2007) : 

Have we all forgotten about Canada? They looked pretty good against Guatemala...Although playing in front of 50,000 rabid home fans in Chicago vs. the Americans in the Semi Finals, Canada has its' works cut out for them!

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:32 PM, June 20, 2007) : 

MEXICO’s Team…
Four-time winners of the CONCACAF Gold Cup™ (1993, 1996, 1998, 2003) are competing in their ninth tournament in 2007… Mexico is one of only two CONCACAF teams (other USA) to always advance out of the first round … The tricolor are the only team to capture two Gold Cup crowns (1996, 2003) without conceding a goal …

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12:37 PM, June 20, 2007) : 

Stop hiding behind Mexico's previous success, you clown. Its 2007, not 1996 or 2003. Grow up

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (6:17 PM, June 20, 2007) : 

lol at these fools.... the us. has won mexico in games that better football was played by mexico....they did lose yes, better football goes to mexico...the talent and football goes 2 mexico the wins go to the u.s. therefore better football is played by mexico..

 

Blogger scaryice said ... (2:23 AM, June 21, 2007) : 

Given the strength of the Mexican league, they really should have more players in Europe and I think they have a real chance to become a super power in the future.

They aren't playing well now, but they (and the USA) don't need to play well to make the Gold Cup final.

 

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (3:17 PM, June 25, 2007) : 

So, the United States won... AGAIN. When are the Mexicans going to admit that they are no longer the kings of CONCACAF?

 

Anonymous Michael Juby said ... (7:57 PM, June 25, 2007) : 

SHENANIGANS, SHENANIGANS

 

Anonymous Ryan said ... (11:26 PM, June 25, 2007) : 

The US just keeps beating Mexico and I think the commentators during the match touched on something interesting when they said that maybe a Mexican win would spark this rivalry, or maybe not because the US fans need results to be happy. It's definitely still a fierce rivalry, but you have to wonder when (if?) Mexico will muster the strength to get a result against the US. Mexico may have been more aggressive and crisper on the ball in the first half, but the US has proven time and time again that they have the talent and depth to impose their style of play on the game (against CONCACAF opponents, anyway). The US team is still pretty young, so I just can't see the tide turning in Mexico's favor. Imagine Mexico's plight if Nery Castillo had chosen to play for Greece or Uruguay! Mexico seem to flounder while the US improve, but unless the US posts a good showing outside CONCACAF (at the 2010 World Cup), we'll continue to be overlooked and undermined.

 

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