Just two days after the United States women’s national team won the 2015 World Cup, the United States men’s national team is getting started with their 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign as reigning champions.
With home field advantage and momentum from strong performances in Europe and in North America, the United States is favored to go deep into the tournament. By all accounts, it’s a two-horse race between the United States and Mexico. But with Javier Hernandez injured, the U.S. should win the Gold Cup.
The operative word being should of course.
USMNT Gold Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/2007), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake/2011, 2013), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS (7): Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC/2009), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy/2013), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers/2011)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake/2009, 2013), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/2011, 2013), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/2007, 2011), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo/2005), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC/2013), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/2011), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC/2005, 2007, 2011), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes/2011, 2013)
USA Group Stage Schedule
Tuesday, July 7: USA vs. Honduras, 9:30pm EST – FOX Sports 1, UniMas
Friday, July 10: USA vs. Haiti, 8:30pm EST – FOX Sports 1, UniMas
Monday, July 13: USA vs. Panama, 9:30pm EST – FOX Sports 1, UniMas
As I said before, the United States should be favored to win the Gold Cup. Heck, even if Mexico had Javier Hernandez, I’d still put them a notch above. The team has edged out Mexico in recent competitions, the Mexicans had a poor Copa America campaign, and U.S. success in Europe against Germany and the Netherlands — not to mention their domination of Guatemala in a tune-up match that could have easily belied their level of preparedness for the tournament — gives me reason to hope.
That’s not to say it will be easy. Honduras, while underperforming lately, has always given the United States fits. Haiti is overachieving. And if anyone other than the U.S. wins the group it will be Panama.
As far as Group B, I think Costa Rica is a greater threat to knock out the United States than any other team in the tournament. And Group C has Mexico, which should provide a stern test but no real threat, and Guatemala who… well… we all know what happened with Guatemala.
Prediction: The United States wins Group A, defeats Jamaica in the quarterfinals, defeats Costa Rica in the semifinals, and wins in the finals over Mexico.