Gold Cup Today: Mexico take on Cuba, Trinidad and Tobgao vs. Guatemala — Day 3

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Day 3 of the 2015 Gold Cup is upon us and the party now shifts to Chicago as Solider Field is the venue for a double-header to open up Group C play on Thursday.

[ LIVE: 2015 Gold Cup updates ]

Mexico, the 10-time Gold Cup champions, are the heavy favorites to win Group C but as other favorites Costa Rica and the U.S. have found out so far, taking on CONCACAF opponents is not an easy task. Trinidad and Tobago will fancy their chances of advancing to the quarterfinals, while Cuba and Guatemela will be the outsiders.

Below is a brief primer on what to expect from both games, while you can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.

Game 5: Trinidad and Tobago vs. Guatemala
When: Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Live updates: NBCSports.com

After Guatemala’s struggles against the USA in a 4-0 defeat on the eve of the Gold Cup, T&T will be optimistic about their chances of chalking up their first win of the 2015 tournament. With Kenwyne Jones captaining the side up top, the Caribbean outfit will look to whip plenty of balls into the box. As we saw against the U.S., Guatemala has some talented players but its all about whether or not they can get them in the right position. “El Pescadito” is still knocking around as Guatemala will look to its skipper, Carlos Ruiz, for inspiration. Marco Pappa adds quality to the Guatemalan midfield, so expect him to have a good battle with Khaleem Hyland, while Trinidad and Tobago have four MLSers in their ranks. This could go either way.

Game 6: Mexico vs. Cuba
When: Thursday, 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Live updates: NBCSports.com

El Tri will have plenty of support in the Windy City and Miguel Herrera’s side will be fired up to bring the Gold Cup back home this summer. After struggling at the Copa America with a “B team” last month, Mexico are rightly one of the favorites to lift their first Gold Cup since 2011 but they have lost Hector Herrera and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez to injury in the lead up to this tournament. As for Cuba, they only have 16 players to choose from as six players cannot enter the U.S. due to visa issues and their manager Raul Fernandez is also unable to enter the USA. To add to their woes another starter has gone missing from their base in Chicago amid fears he has defected. All in all, expect a big win for Mexico but Cuba did reach the quarterfinals of the 2013 Gold Cup.

Rapids name Robin Fraser as head coach

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The Colorado Rapids have named former Major League Soccer player and longtime assistant Robin Fraser as their head coach.

Fraser steps in for Conor Casey, who’s been the interim coach since the team fired Anthony Hudson in May. Colorado is 7-14-6 and at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Fraser’s first match in charge will be Saturday at the New York Red Bulls.

The 52-year-old Fraser has served as an assistant coach at Toronto FC since 2015.

Fraser was the fourth overall pick in the 1996 MLS player draft by the Los Angeles Galaxy. Over his career, Fraser suited up for the Galaxy, the Rapids and the Columbus Crew. He said in a statement Sunday he considers Colorado home because he’s so familiar with the soccer community.

Rapids general manager Padraig Smith said Fraser has a “deep knowledge of what it takes to be successful in MLS.”

Pochettino upset with attacking stars, speaks on Eriksen status

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Mauricio Pochettino might’ve understood Tottenham Hotspur dropping points last week at Man City, but he didn’t plan on not taking anything from Newcastle United on Sunday at home.

“You need the capacity to step up in this type of situation but we didn’t show that quality today,” Pochettino said. “When the ball arrives in the last third you need something from the talent and quality we have there and today we didn’t have that.”

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle | Bruce reacts ]

So that’s pretty straight forward, but Pochettino was less happy to answer the question of why he didn’t start Christian Eriksen. Some (read: this writer) have questioned the philosophy of putting a man you may sell for $50 million on the bench. Either put him in the Starting XI and risk him, or leave him off the 18.

“When you lose, the players who don’t play are the best. With Christian we win and we lose a lot of games. I accept that situation is like this. If we won 3-0 today no one talks about different names.

“I cannot find excuses about the transfer window being open to justify that performance or the result. We cannot find the way to be solid and to have consistency for different reasons. I am going to be happy in 10 days after we play Arsenal when the transfer window closes in Europe and to have the player involved until the transfer window again in January.”

We’re not gonna read too much into it, but it does sound a bit like Pochettino is daring teams to bid for Eriksen. Would it make sense for him to hold onto Eriksen until January before cashing in?

Newcastle’s Bruce heard criticism, happy to beat Spurs

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Steve Bruce heard a lot of the criticism from fans upon his hiring at Newcastle United, and it rang out louder after the Magpies started 0-2 including a loss at newly-promoted Norwich City.

[ RECAP: Spurs 0-1 Newcastle ]

He may well hear plenty more down the road, but the childhood Newcastle supporter was feeling relieved and maybe redeemed after a fortunate and wonderful 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. From the BBC:

“We came to this fantastic stadium, this fantastic club and we performed. I mean, to say I ‘cannot even do a warm up’ is mad. I have managed 900-odd games and over the years you would think there would be some sort of respect but I go back to the fact that whoever took over from Rafa Benitez was going to get the abuse.”

Newcastle faces struggling Watford at St. James’ Park next week, and another result will ease a lot of nerves (though certainly not all of them.

Wolves snatch late point versus Burnley

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Raul Jimenez’s penalty seven minutes into stoppage time gave Wolves a point with a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Sunday at the Molineux Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ] 

Wolves now have three draws in three matches, while Burnley has four points.


Three things

  1. We’re paying rent in Ashley Barnes‘ world — Known most for his combustible, some-would-say dirty nature, the Burnley striker now has four goals this early season and more than one, including Sunday’s opener, have been bangers.
  2. Nuno’s men could use a break — Wolves fought well, but you can tell the Europa League schedule has heavily taxed their spirit. How tired are they? Here are the thoughts of an exhausted Raul Jimenez, and you can read the “Thank you, God” inside them –> “I think [the penalty] is the right decision. When I get in possession he tried to kick the ball, then he kicked me. It came at a good moment for us.”
  3. Don’t ever bet against Sean Dyche — We’ve written it 100 times. The big man can get a result from anywhere, at any time.

Burnley was easily the better unit over the first 45 minutes, and was rewarded with a goal even after VAR ruled one out.

Barnes chested a neatly-headed flick into shooting position and unleashed a missile that zipped past Rui Patricio for a 1-0 lead.

Both sides began the second half brightly, with Morgan Gibbs-White lashed a shot offf the outside of the netting and Barnes unable to get purchase on a ball over the top of the Wolves back line.

But Erik Pieters cut down Jimenez in the box late to set the Mexican international up for a win.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]