El Salvador

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USMNT finishes 2019 as FIFA’s 22nd ranked team

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Belgium finishes the year in the No. 1 slot on FIFA’s rankings, something the Red Devils will hope is a harbinger of what’s to come at EURO 2020.

France, Brazil, England, and Uruguay finish second through fifth.

The United States men’s national team finishes the year at No. 22, up three spots from 2018. It’s their highest year-end finish since 2013 (14th) and one spot ahead of their all-time average spot.

The Yanks are ranked 39th by EloRatings, generally considered to be a fairer approximation of strength.

[ RELATED: Grading the USMNT’s 2019 ]

FIFA’s December release sees very few changes, and minimal ones at that. South Korea moves up a spot to 40th, South Africa up one to 71st, and Bolivia nudges its way into the Top 75.

China sinks to 76th, while only one nations moves more than a single spot. Hong Kong dips two to No. 141,

The new rankings again show which CONCACAF nations are on track to participate in the Hex.

El Salvador pulls into sixth place amongst CONCACAF teams with only six months to go until the rankings decide which six teams qualify for the Hex.

Mexico holds tight at 11, while the USMNT sits 22nd. Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Honduras would join El Salvador to round out the Hex if it started today. That would leave Canada, Curacao, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago playing in the second group of World Cup qualifying.

The winner of that group would play in the playoff against the fourth-place team from the Hex, with the winner of that match playing an interconfederation playoffs for a spot in Qatar 2022.

FOLLOW LIVE, Gold Cup: Three times alive for two spots on Group C’s final day

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Little is guaranteed from Group C at the 2019 Gold Cup, but the United States and Panama will learn their potential opponents by the end of Tuesday night’s action.

Only Honduras has been eliminated from contention for the knockout rounds.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

Jamaica is in the driver’s seat when it comes to advancing and winning the group, but a loss to Curacao coupled with an El Salvador win over Honduras would send the Reggae Boyz home early.

Meanwhile, Curacao would be eliminated with a loss to Jamaica at 8 p.m. ET or by a draw if El Salvador gets a result against Honduras at 10:30 p.m.

The tiebreakers for classification are head-to-head, then goal difference, then goals scored.

The USMNT will need a win or a draw when it plays Panama on Wednesday in order to face the Group C runner-up in the quarterfinals, while a loss would mean it faces the Group C winner.

Tuesday’s Gold Cup schedule
Jamaica v. Curacao — 8 p.m. ET
Honduras v. El Salvador — 10:30 p.m. ET

Hit the link above to follow along for the next few hours and check back on PST for a full roundup of Sunday’s action

Gold Cup: Jamaica holds off Honduras, El Salvador tops Curacao

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Jamaica secured an historic win on home soil as both the Reggae Boyz and Honduras opened up their accounts in the 2019 Gold Cup.

Damion Lowe’s second half header proved to be the difference as Jamaica beat Honduras, 3-2, in Kingston, Jamaica on Monday evening. It was the first official Gold Cup game hosted in the Caribbean.

[READ: Women’s World Cup: Controversy as France wins with help of VAR]

After a strong start by the Reggae Boyz, where Honduras sat back and allowed Jamaica to control possession, forward Dever Orgill found the back of the net on two occasions.

In the 15th minute, Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, finally playing for the Jamaican national team, dribbled in on goal and delivered a great through ball to Los Angeles FC’s Peter-Lee Vassell. Vassell then sent a chip across the box, allowing Orgill to come back for the ball (possibly from an offside position) and head into an open net.

One minute before halftime, Orgill scored again on a quick-passing move in front of the net, taking advantage of a deflection on a shot to put Jamaica up, 2-0.

A calamitous error from Louisville City FC pair Devon “Speedy” William and Shaun Francis gifted Honduras a reprieve early in the second half, but Jamaica struck right back as Lowe blasted a powerful header in.

Jamaica continued to push for a fourth goal on the break but Honduras kept repelling wave after wave, and even pulled another goal back late, though they ran out of time.

Elsewhere, El Salvador got off to a good start to the tournament with a 1-0 win over Curacao, in a must-win game for both teams considering there are matches against Jamaica and Honduras coming up. Nelson Bonilla scored the game’s only goal just before halftime for El Salvador.

2019 Gold Cup full schedule, kick off times, venues

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Get excited. The 2019 Gold Cup on U.S. soil (with a few games in Costa Rica and Jamaica) is almost here, as 16 teams set out to be crowned the champions of the CONCACAF region.

[ MORE: Latest 2019 Gold Cup news ]

The reigning champs are the U.S. men’s national team but Gregg Berhalter’s men aren’t favorites to win the tournament this time around as Mexico, led by Tata Martino, are the bookies pick to win it all this summer. A lot has changed for the U.S. since they won it in 2017 under Bruce Arena…

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores

Watch out for Jamaica with Leon Bailey, and both Costa Rica and Honduras will be tough to get past in the coming weeks as Canada are also outside bets to have a good run in the Gold Cup with Junior Hoilett and Alphonso Davies leading their charge.

Below is a look at the full schedule for the tournament, complete with the venues being used, kick off times and the knockout round bracket as things kick off on June 15 with the final on July 7 at Soldier Field in Chicago.


Group stage

Group A
June 15: Canada v. Martinique – 7:30 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 15: Mexico v. Cuba – 10 p.m. ET at Rose Bowl, Pasadena
June 19: Cuba v. Martinique – 8 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 19: Mexico v. Canada – 10:30 p.m. ET at Mile High Stadium, Denver
June 23: Canada v. Cuba – 6 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
June 23: Martinique v. Mexico – 8:30 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Group B
June 16: Haiti v. Bermuda – 6 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 16: Costa Rica v. Nicaragua – 8:30 p.m. ET at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica
June 20: Nicaragua v. Haiti – 7 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 20: Costa Rica v. Bermuda – 9:30 p.m. ET at Toyota Stadium, Frisco
June 24: Bermuda v. Nicaragua – 6:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison
June 24: Haiti v. Costa Rica – 9 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, Harrison

Group C
June 17: Curacao v. El Salvador – 7 p.m. ET at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 17: Jamaica v. Honduras – 9:30 p.m. at Independence Park, Kingston, Jamaica
June 21: El Salvador v. Jamaica – 7 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 21: Honduras v. Curacao – 9:30 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
June 25: Jamaica v. Curacao – 8 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles
June 25: Honduras v. El Salvador – 10:30 p.m. ET at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

Group D
June 18: Panama v. Trinidad & Tobago – 7:30 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 18: United States v. Guyana – 10 p.m. ET at Allianz Field, Saint Paul
June 22: Guyana v. Panama – 5:30 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 22: United States v. Trinidad & Tobago – 8 p.m. ET at FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland
June 26: Trinidad & Tobago v. Guyana – 6:30 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City
June 26: Panama v. United States – 9 p.m. ET at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City

Quarterfinals

June 29
Match 25: Winner Group B v. Runner-up Group A – 7 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston
Match 26: Winner Group A v. Runner-up Group B – 10 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium, Houston

June 30
Match 27: Winner Group C vs. Runner-up Group D – 5:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
Match 28: Winner Group D vs. Runner-up Group C – 8:30 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Semifinals

July 2
Match 29: Winners of Match 25 vs. Winners of Match 26 – 10:30 p.m. ET at State Farm Stadium, Glendale

July 3
Match 30: Winners of Match 27 vs. Winners of Match 28 – 9:30 p.m. ET at Nissan Stadium, Nashville

Final

July 7
Winners of Match 29 vs. Winners of Match 30 – 9:15 p.m. ET at Soldier Field, Chicago

WATCH: Miami United midfielder unleashes Open Cup laser

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Tomas Granitto, have yourself an extra plate at the postgame buffet.

The Miami United midfielder scored a gorgeous goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over fellow NPSL side Jacksonville Armada in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

Complete with aesthetically-pleasing post-ping, the former El Salvador U-20 player laid into a 25-yard shot to open the scoring in Florida.

Granitto, 24, has played for Timbers 2, Swope Park Rangers, FC Edmonton, since leaving NCAA side Florida Gulf Coast.