2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup
The CONCACAF Gold Cup, played once every two years, is the premier event in international soccer for teams representing the nations of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The tournament has been dominated by Mexico and the United States, as the two powers have won the title seven and five times, respectively, with Canada and its lone triumph in 2000 representing the only other victorious nation. Mexico has been particularly dominant in recent years, having won three of the previous four renditions of the event, including the most recent in 2015.
2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Preview
Gold Cup Favorites
Unsurprisingly, the United States and Mexico will be the two teams to beat in 2017. The United States will be led by the likes of veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard, who now plies his trade for the Colorado Rapids, and experienced defenders Matt Besler of Sporting Kansas City, Steve Birnbaum of D.C. United, and Omar Gonzalez, who plays his club soccer for Pachuca in Mexico. Chelsea youngster Matt Miazga should also be in the mix, with Borussia Dortmund phenom Christian Pulisic and Jordan Morris of the Seattle Sounders providing a youthful spark. Elsewhere, veterans Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, and Clint Dempsey will be called upon to steady the ship. Head coach Bruce Arena and his team will begin play in Group B, where its opponents will be Panama, Nicaragua, and Martinique.
Mexico will bring a young squad to the United States, although veteran goalkeepers Jose de Jesus Corona and Moises Munoz could feature. Elsewhere on the roster, the strongest players include Jorge Torres Nilo and Hugo Ayala of Tigres, Guadalajara’s Alan Pulido, and Erick “Cubo” Torres of the Houston Dynamo, one of the top strikers in the MLS. Mexico’s veterans and European based players will not feature due to their participation in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, but this predominantly domestic squad will still be confident of taking home the trophy at the tournament’s conclusion. Juan Carlos Osorio, an experienced manager who has previously coached the Chicago Fire and the New York Red Bulls, will lead the way from the sideline as his Mexico team will take on Group C opponents El Salvador, Curaçao, and Jamaica, who the Mexicans defeated 3-1 in the 2015 version of the event.
Other Gold Cup Contenders
Other contenders include Central American powers Honduras and Costa Rica, both of which will compete in Group A alongside French Guiana and Canada. Honduras, which has participated in each of the past two FIFA World Cup tournaments, will call upon the likes of Maynor Figueroa of FC Dallas, Celtic’s Emilio Izaguirre, Boniek Garcia of the Houston Dynamo, CD Tenerife’s Anthony Lozano, and promising Inter Milan youngster Rigoberto Rivas. The Costa Ricans, affectionately referred to as “Los Ticos,” have a defensive unit composed of Bryan Oviedo of Sunderland, Christian Gamboa of Celtic, Palermo’s Giancarlo Gonzalez, and MLS trio Kendall Waston of the Vancouver Whitecaps, Ronald Matarrita of New York City FC, and Roy Miller of the Portland Timbers. The midfield and attack are also loaded, with Bryan Ruiz of Sporting CP, Arsenal’s Joel Campbell, Celso Borges of Deportivo La Coruña, and Christian Bolaños of the Vancouver Whitecaps on the roster.
Schedule and Locations
Action kicks off on July 7, with Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls, playing host to a Group A doubleheader. The United States will play against Panama the following day at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, the home stadium of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Mexico’s tournament debut will be on July 9 against El Salvador at Qualcomm Stadium, former home of the San Diego Chargers. Group play will conclude on July 16, and the four quarterfinals will take place on July 19 and July 20, with the first two matches being played in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field, the home venue of the Philadelphia Eagles, and the latter two at the Arizona Cardinals’ home facility, the University of Phoenix Stadium. The semifinals will take place on July 22 at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, and July 23 at the Rose Bowl. Tournament action will conclude on July 26 at Levi's Stadium, the home field of the San Francisco 49ers, in Santa Clara.