What would a Copa America Centenario field, draw look like? Let’s get hypothetical


A 16-team, U.S.-based Copa America sounds great, but until the well after 2015 Gold Cup, we won’t know who’s actually playing. Granted, 12 spots are set — the 10 South American teams; Mexico; and the United States — but the champions for the Caribbean and Central America won’t be known for until later this year. The two remaining spots will go to the winners of a four-team playoff among the top four non-qualified finishers in next year’s CONCACAF Championship …

All of which is big fun-killer, right now. But what if we looked back at the previous Gold, Caribbean, and Central American Cups and used that to fuel our imaginations?

In other words, if CONCACAF’s tournaments play out like they did in 2012 and 2013, what will the Centenario Copa look like?

If you’re not into hypotheticals and thought experiments, “Ctrl+W” now. If, however, you feel like playing along, here’s who would have qualified:

  • South American teams (10): Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela
  • CONCACAF automatic qualifiers (2): Mexico, United States
  • Caribbean champions: Cuba
  • Central America champions: Costa Rica
  • Four other top finishers, Gold Cup: Honduras, Panama (Trinidad and Tobago, El Salvador)*

* Those four would enter a tournament to determine the final spots. Since Honduras and Panama made last year’s semifinals, we’re pretending they won the tournament. Congratulations, Honduras and Panama!

But why stop there? Those teams have to be draw into groups eventually, right? Luckily I just finished a pack of Starbuck and have all these little pieces of paper sitting around. Let’s do this!

The pots:

  • Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States go into Pot 1
  • The rest of CONCACAF’s teams go into Pot 2
  • Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Uruguay go into Pot 3
  • Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela go into Pot 4

Copa America’s 2015 results might have a say in who goes into which post, but generally, this way ensures a.) no more than two CONCACAF teams end up in one group; b.) each group has at least one CONCACAF representative; and c.) South America’s other strong teams (here, the World Cup qualifiers) get dispersed. Bottom line: We needed some kind of methodology to do a draw.

Wrappers in a trash bag, four at time, here we go:

  • Group A: Argentina, Panama, Ecuador, Peru
  • Group B: Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Paraguay
  • Group C: United States, Honduras, Uruguay, Venezuela
  • Group D: Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Bolivia

I can’t believe the U.S. got the Group of Death! Sorry – just a reflex. These groups actually look pretty even. Then again, with my patented methodology, it was hard to have a truly killer group. The worst possible would have been Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, and Venezuela. That’s stacked, but if Costa Rica and Venezuela aren’t in the final eight, we’re not going to cry about it.

As for the rest of the tournament? My imagination’s tapped out, but thanks to my favorite fruit chew, I have a much better idea of what this Centenario-thing might look like two years from now.


MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

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Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)