What is this Concacaf Cup you might ask?
It is a one-game playoff between the winner of the 2013 Gold Cup (USA) and the winner of the 2015 Gold Cup (Mexico).
How did we get here?
In previous World Cup cycles, the winner of the most recent Gold Cup would represent CONCACAF in the Confederations Cup. But ahead of this cycle, it was decided that the winners of the two most recent Gold Cups would meet in a one-game playoff. Well, the USA won the 2013 Gold Cup in Jurgen Klinsmann's Gold Cup debut. The USMNT beat Panama in the final 1-0 behind a Brek Shea goal in the 28th minute. Panama did the USMNT team a favor by knocking out Mexico in the semi-finals. This summer's results were reversed, the USA lost to Jamaica in the semi-finals before Mexico beat Jamaica in the final 3-1.
Cool, what do they win?
The winner of this game presumably gets a newly designed and christened CONCACAF Cup. But more importantly the winner is afforded CONCACAF's bid in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. A tournament that serves as a warm-up for the next summer's World Cup in the same venues.
So, it's kind of a big deal?
Depends on who you ask. But due of the lack of quality meaningful games for CONCACAF teams (still waiting on 2016's Copa América Centenario to help that out), both countries will want this tournament environment as a dry run for the following summer's World Cup. The last time the USMNT qualified was back in 2009, when they made it to the Confederations Cup final in South Africa, beating then No. 1-ranked Spain in the semi-finals. That win stands as one of the highlights for the USMNT in the modern era.
Where is the game being played?
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The game is sold out with 93,000 expected to attend.
It's a home game for the USMNT?
Not quite, the only place this is a home match for the USA is for FIFA ranking purposes. Do you happen to remember when the USA played Mexico in the 2011 Gold Cup final? That game was played at the Rose Ball and the official attendance was 93,420, with there reportedly being a 90-10 split in terms of allegiances. The 90% was for Mexico. CONCACAF has gone to some lengths to more evenly distribute the tickets for this game. Most seem to think the ratio is going to be something like 40% USA and 60% Mexico.
How do I Watch?
USA v Mexico
Saturday, 6:30 PM
TV: Fox Sports 1, Univision
Online: Fox Sport Go, Univision Deportes
John Strong and
Alexi Lalas Stuart Holden on the call.
Fox is starting their pre-game coverage at 5 PM. Kickoff should be very close to 6:30.
On a personal note, your author is going to the game. With my Mexican born and raised wife I met in high school (be nice to exchange students) while celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary this weekend. Sadly she still supports Mexico ("It means more to us, Chris"), but we are in the USA Supporters Section. If the cell towers hold out I will hopefully post some pre-game and in stadium photos on twitter.