As a reminder of what is on the line here in the Gold Cup. Outside of winning the Gold Cup and being the Concacaf Champion, the winner of the 2015 Gold Cup will play the winner of the 2013 Gold Cup (USA) for a berth in the Confederations Cup in Russia 2017.
In addition the Gold Cup is the de facto first stage of qualifying for 2016 Copa América Centenario. USA (automatic qualifier and potential host), Mexico (automatic qualifier), Jamaica (2014 Caribbean Cup winners) and Costa Rica (2014 Copa Centroamericana winners) have already qualified for the tournament. The next four teams from the Gold Cup will enter a playoff for the last two spots in the 2016 Copa América Centenario. There is still some doubt as to if the tournament is going to take place, but if it does go through then the qualifying mechanism expects to be unchanged.
In matchday 1 we saw a pair of draws from Group B. Costa Rica and Jamaica combined for a 2-2 draw while Canada and El Salvador played to a nil-nil. Goals scored is the third tie-breaker so for now Costa Rica leads the group over Jamaica on alphabetical supremacy.
Jamaica (FIFA rank 76) v Canada (103)
Cyle Larin is a budding star for Canada. But he is going to have to get over The Miss very quickly.
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With group favorite and World Cup quarterfinalist Costa Rica as Canada's final match, they know that a result is required today. The game will be played in Houston in the sweltering midday heat on only two days rest. Depth will be tested for both squads. Luckily for Canada they rested Vancouver Whitecaps playmaker Russell Teibert in the opener, he should add attacking impetus to what was a lackluster attack against El Salvador.
Jamaica sport Houston Dynamo's Giles Barnes as one of their best attacking players. This game is taking place in his home stadium and he will be ready to make the difference for the Reggae Boyz.
Jamaica participated in Copa America in June as a guest team with many of these same players. On short rest in the heat of Houston, that might be all the advantage that Canada needs.
Costa Rica (41) v El Salvador (88)
Costa Rica entered the Gold Cup as the highest ranked team in Concacaf up at a robust 14th in the world. This lofty ranking was due mainly to an excellent World Cup which saw Los Ticos beat Uruguay, Italy and draw England to win their group then eliminate Greece on penalties in the round of 16 before losing to Netherland in penalties for a chance to make the semi-final. But due to the vagaries of the FIFA ranking system, July's adjustments saw Costa Rica fall 27 spots to 41st.
Costa Rica will be looking to get more from their star striker Bryan Ruiz. In the opener, Ruiz was an English Championship player at Fulham. For this match three days later, he is the shiny new striker at Sporting Lisbon having just finalized the move to Fredy Montero's club.
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