The USMNT and Gold Cup Knockout Rounds Scenario:
Group C will see Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago advance. But it will also determine who the USMNT plays in Baltimore on Saturday in the quarterfinals. If Guatemala beats Cuba then Guatemala finishes third in Group C ahead of the third place team in Group B and they play the USA. If Cuba wins, they finish third and play the USA. If they tie then Guatemala, El Salvador and Canada all finish on two points. El Salvador and Canada both would have a -1 goal differential compared to Guatemala's -2 and El Salvador would advance based on their robust one goals scored over Canada's zero goals scored.
The winner of Group C will play Panama, which finished third in Group A, while the second place from Group C will play Costa Rica. Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago control their own destiny. While Costa Rica is the scary team coming into the tournament, Panama has been playing well.
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.
|Guatemala||Guatemala plays USA|
|Cuba||Cuba plays USA|
|Draw||El Salvador plays USA|
Guatemala (FIFA Rank: 105) v Cuba (104)
As outlined above, there is a lot on the line in this game. The winner advances and a draw does neither team any good. In addition, the winner of this match is still in position to qualify for the proposed 2016 Copa Centenario, while the loser is eliminated.
Cuba was dominated in their opener in a 6-0 loss where they were missing 6 players and their manager due to travel visa issues and Mexico had no remorse peppering their goal with 44 shots. Cuba then recovered a full squad but were beat 2-0 by Trinidad and Tobago in a game that was not as close as the scoreline indicated. The fact that they still have a chance to advance is because of all the draws in Group B and Canada's failure to score.
Guatemala earned a gutsy nil-nil draw with Mexico playing the last 14 minutes with 10 men due to Jose Contreras second yellow card. Marco Pappa was a 77th minute substitute for Carlos Ruiz. Guatemala played the entire game with a defensive setup and were rewarded with the point. Expect a much more attack oriented lineup today with both Ruiz and Pappa starting. A draw does neither team any favors, so expect to see frantic attacking if it is tied late.
Mexico (40) v Trinidad and Tobago (64)
Mexico earned a disappointing result by only drawing 10 men Guatemala in the second game after demolishing Cuba 6-0 in the opener. There is considerable pressure from the Mexican media to dominate a team like Trinidad and Tobago and win the group. Confirmed LA Galaxy signing Giovani dos Santos will be hoping to get the start after being a sub in both games.
The winner of this group plays Panama while the loser gets Costa Rica. In the case of a draw, Trinidad and Tobago win the group. Trinidada and Tobago find themselves in the enviable position of playing for seeding in the final group game because they came out and blitzed an unprepared Guatemala early with goals in the 10th, 13th and 25th minutes and then dominated a disjointed Cuba squad 2-0. Former Seattle Sounder and current San Jose Earthquakes player Cordell Cato has been very good in the T&T attack.
How To Watch:
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