Will inexperience and perceived B-teams be enough to open up the Gold Cup for a side not named Mexico or the United States?
El Tri and the USMNT have won 12 of 13 Gold Cups, with Canada’s unlikely 2000 triumph the only other offering.
Mexico will be without a bevy of stars and coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who was suspended six games by FIFA for his uproarious behavior in the Confederations Cup. Bruce Arena’s U.S. side doesn’t have it’s marquee names, either, with most European-based players allowed to focus on their preseasons.
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So how will it shake out?
Costa Rica should coast to the top of the group, leaving Canada and Honduras to dual for second. This one will come down to the last day, with the latter two meeting in Frisco, Texas. Canada isn’t the arctic, but that should favor Los Catrachos.
- Costa Rica
- French Guiana
The Yanks were very lucky to avoid a huge challenge, though playing Panama first provides a chance for an early hiccup. Otherwise, this group should be sleepy.
Mexico and Jamaica are clear favorites, but El Salvador is better than many realize and Curacao is the definition of a wild card thanks to Dutch imports Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) and ex-Ajax property Gino van Kessel.
- El Salvador
Costa Rica def. Panama
USMNT def. El Salvador
Mexico defeats Canada
Jamaica defeats Honduras
Costa Rica def. USMNT
Mexico def. Jamaica
Costa Rica def. Mexico