Ah shit, here we go again
My two big shits are:
- Watching my country’s soccer team lose
- Not getting traffic to this god forsaken website
These things, much like the “USA” signifying the country of citizenship on my passport, will never leave me no matter how hard I scrub. I’m a glutton for Darren Mattocks destroying an American goalkeeper. I’m a piss pig but for looking at my wordpress stats to see that not even my Dad clicked on a post about Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer instead of piss. The Concacaf Gold Cup is right at the intersection of those two: I still get to feel pain, and the general My Website Reading public gets to ignore it.
The Concacaf Gold Cup should be defined by four things:
- The time Benny Feilhaber won it by taking a ridiculous shot that had no business going in and then promptly spending the next decade getting left off the team
- Jamaica’s ability to make the final twice in a row despite never really competing for a World Cup bid
- The inevitable USA-Mexico final which keeps getting derailed by one of the two Concacaf powers choking
- The time Canada won it
Anyway, this year is shaping up to be precisely as stupid as all of the prior years, what with the American team having scored only 1 goal in their past three matches and the Mexican team’s star forward, who currently looks to be the best player in MLS by far, just sorta, like, dippin’ out. With the two traditional Concacaf favorites mired in dysfunction, is the golden throne of North, Central, and Caribbean American Football open? Well, that’s the conceit of the rest of the article so we’re gonna act as if it is. Here’s who has the best shot at knocking the US off its pedestal:
As the only non-American or Mexican Concacaf member in the top 50 of the FIFA rankings, the enigmatic and inconsistent Costa Rican side will be looking to win this competition for the first time in the team’s history. Much like the United States and Mexico, Costa Rica is in the midst of its first year with a new coach. They seem to be committed to defensive soccer and they have the talent to play their game, but I guess my biggest question is where they’ll get goals. Mayron George, their starting forward, has yet to score for the national team, but I suppose their first match at home against Nicaragua in Costa Rica will be as good a place as any to start.
Costa Rica’s methodical style of play tends to limit them in knockout-round situations. In the four international cups in which they’ve played since they just barely missed out on the 2014 World Cup semifinals (2018 World Cup, 2016 Centernario, 2015 and 17 Gold Cups), they’ve won only a single knockout-stage match. I suppose that will be the big thing to look out for with Los Ticos this summer, assuming they can get through the group stage first.
Alright this is a dumb stat I’m not going to bother checking – Jamaica is tied for having made the most international senior team finals of any island nation in the world during this decade. Currently the island country football rankings for this decade are:
- Japan (2011 Asian Cup champions, 2019 Asian Cup runners-up) / Jamaica (2015 and 2017 Gold Cup runners-up)
- Tahiti (2012 OFC Nations Cup Champions), New Caledonia (2012 OFC Nations Cup Runners-Up), Papua New Guinea (2016 OFC Nations Cup Runners-Up)
- England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland (lol)
Note: This website stands by its policy of not recognizing New Zealand’s existence
Jamaica’s done something incredible in the last two Gold Cups – They’ve been on both the winning and losing sides of matches against Mexico and the United States. They’ve had trials and errors – In 2015, they learned how to beat the USA and lose to Mexico, and in 2017, they had the inverse. In 2019, they’ve got all the experience they need.
Now, it’s their turn to put it all together and either beat both of them or lose to both of them. I personally believe it’ll be the former, and I’m slotting the Reggae Boyz right into the Gold Cup final.
Alright I know I predicted them to win back in 2017, and I was wrong then. But this year, look where the Canadians are playing their first match – Pasadena, California.
And the last time they played a Gold Cup match in the Los Angeles metropolitan area? That’s right. They drew with Honduras at the Stubhub Center.
Er, wait, no, the time before that. The time before the 2015 draw with Honduras that the Canadian National Soccer Team played a match in Los Angeles county? They… well, they lost 1-0 to Martinique in 2013 in the Rose Bowl. But before that? They… ah, shit, there was a group stage win over Jamaica in 2009 in Carson in there… But the time before that?
That’s right. The fourth-to-last time that the Canadian team played a match in the Los Angeles metropolitan area during the Concacaf Gold Cup competition? That’s when they beat Colombia somehow to win the 2000 Gold Cup. Fear the Leaf. They’re my other prediction to make the 2019 Gold Cup Final
Trinidad and Tobago:
Though they’re ranked 92nd in the FIFA Rankings, behind Curacao, Canada, and Panama, Trinidad has reason to have hope in this year’s Gold Cup. For instance, they’ve still got the momentum going from their 2017 upset of the United States in World Cup qualifying, and both goal-scorers for Trinidad during that match will be playing in the 2019 Gold Cup! Perhaps the future’s bright for Trinidad.