Friday, June 3, 2011

2011 Gold Cup Preview

What is it? The Gold Cup is the bi-annual, 12-team continental soccer championship for CONCACAF, which consist of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

Does it Matter?
Yes, why else would we be talking about it? The winner gets to compete in the Confederations Cup in Brazil in 2013. (note: it matters more every other time it's contested. this is one of the times in matters more) They will face off against the defending World Cup Champs, and the winners from Asia, South America, Oceania, Africa, and Europe. It's sort of a dress rehearsal for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The Gold Cup gives you a chance to pull off upsets like this:

Oh, and you get continental bragging rights for two years.

Fine. When does it start?
June 8, 2011 in stadiums across the USA.

I'm intrigued...Who's playing?!?!
Group A - Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, and Mexico
Group B - Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, and Jamaica
Group C - Canada, Guadeloupe, Panama, and United States

What should we expect?
I'm glad you asked. CONCACAF is an improving region, but its teams can be categorized into three umm...categories??

The Powerhouses - USA and Mexico. These are the big boys. It would be a shock if a team other than these two wins the cup. They have more than half their players playing in Europe and should trounce the majority of CONCACAF. What up Little Pea??

The Capables -Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Jamaica...i guess. All these teams are certainly capable of upsetting either Mexico or the US and should not be taken lightly. They could make a run to the Final, but I still can't see them winning. Pictured: NYRB's Dane Richards

The Minnows-Cuba, Grenada, Guatemala, Canada, Guadeloupe, Panama. This is their World Cup. These guys aren't going to make a World Cup any time soon. Well, Canada might but they are still a few years away. These teams will be gunning for the teams above them, hoping to catch them on an off-night. It's their chance to gain some respect regionally.

My Prediction
I believe that it will once again come down to the USA vs Mexico in the final in the Rose Bowl. Mexico commits a harsh early foul just to up the intensity. US scores off a set piece rebound. Mexico answers quickly to tie things. Landon Donovan starts a breakout in the 89th minute. He sees Freddy Adu (Freddy Adu!?!?! isn't he like 33 by now?) streaking up the left side. One-touch, winner. Career restored. Let's go Yanks!!!

Leave your predictions, concerns, complaints, and celebrations in the comments section.

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