Gold Cup: Group 1 PreviewBy: Juan Mesa
Copa América is history (nice finish, Chile!), on to the next international tournament.
CONCACAF’s Gold Cup begins this Tuesday, July 7th, with a double header of the four members of Group 1 at Frisco’s Toyota Stadium: Panama vs. Haiti (7pm ET) and US vs. Honduras (9:30 ET).
What can we expect from Group 1? Let’s see…
THE FAVORITE: The Gold Cup will be the second official tournament the United States plays without Landon Donovan. With the drama of Jurgen Klinsmann not taking Donovan to the Brazil World Cup now mostly forgotten, the coach has spent months finding the right players for the new era, and recent victories against world champions Germany (2-1) and Netherlands (4-3) in friendlies suggest he’s in the right path. The team is strong and should win the group easily, thanks to veterans Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, and the future of the USMNT, young stars DeAndre Yedlin, Greg Garza and Ventura Alvarado.
THE SECOND PLACE BATTLE: Honduras and Panamá will fight for the second place in the group. Panama seems to be in better shape than the Hondurans who were forced to play a playoff match against French Guiana to qualify to the Gold Cup after a disappointing fifth place in the 2014 Central America Cup. Former Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto will have his first official tournament in charge of Honduras, while Colombian Hernán Darío Gómez looks forward to keeping Panama on the top spots after being finalists in 2013 (the defeated Mexico in the semifinals and lost to the US in the final).
THE UNDERDOG: Haiti is a soccer nation (they played the 1974 World Cup in case you didn’t know), but economic and social problems have impaired the development of the sport and its national team. But the Haitians come to Gold Cup without pressure and with a roster packed with players with experience in lower divisions in Europe and the Americas.
LOGISTICS: Broadcast by Fox Sports 1/2 and Univisión Deportes