06 July 2015

2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup: Group Stage Predictions

The CONCACAF Gold Cup determines, among other things, the regional champion of the Caribbean, Central America and North America. However, this is a tournament that has only been won been won by Mexico and the United States, the defending champions save for Canada winning in 2000. It all kicks off tomorrow evening in Texas. Here are my predictions for group play for the 2015 Gold Cup.

TV Schedule
Parenthesis note FIFA World Ranking

Group A - Haiti (76), Honduras (75), Panama (54), United States (27)
All the discussion, and rightfully so, regarding soccer in this country has been dominated by the extraordinary performance by the USWNT in the Women's World Cup but the USMNT has been on a strong run of late too as they have won every friendly since March with impressive wins over the Netherlands and Germany. I would be surprised if they lost any of their three group matches. Panama is a club that is not getting any younger but they still have plenty of talent as do the Hondurans. It will be a decent climb for Haiti to advance.
1 United States 2 Panama 3 Honduras 4 Haiti

Group B - Canada (109), Costa Rica (14), El Salvador (89), Jamaica (65) 
Costa Rica is certainly the best club in this group and thus should sail to the knockout stage but considering they are not a powerhouse offensively, their contests could get interesting. Jamaica's past history with the Gold Cup has not been pretty but I would be surprised if they failed to advance. Canada's talent level has been rising and that should help them advance ahead of El Salvador.
1 Costa Rica 2 Jamaica 3 Canada 4 El Salvador

Group C - Cuba (107), Guatemala (93), Mexico (23), Trinidad & Tobago (67)
As with the previous two groups, there is one clear favorite here and it is Mexico. La Verde should sweep their three contests and advance. It is a rather weak group so the battle to advance should be a fun one to watch. Trinidad & Tobago is a club that is young but they also have some talent, namely with Kenwyne Jones. Of the remaining two, I think that the inexperience of Cuba, the most inexperienced in the field, and the recent struggles of Guatemala will leave both on the outside looking in.
1 Mexico 2 Trinidad & Tobago 3 Cuba 4 Guatemala

Teams in bold advance to the knockout stage

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