CONGRATS TO THE USWNT AND SPECIFICALLY TO GOLDEN BOOT WINNER MEGAN RAPINOE!!!
FIFA has offered you more soccer, though FIFA should not have ever scheduled tournament matches, let alone finals, on the same day as the Women’s World Cup Final. Since they did, here they are and they include Sounders! They may not start for either team, or even sub on, but hey these are cup finals and these players matter.
In Copa America, the final is not what was expected. Multiple paths could’ve yielded a Brazil final against another superpower level South American side, like Argentina or Uruguay, but instead we see Peru. Peru almost missed on the knockout rounds after bowing out 5-0 to Brazil in their final group stage match, but they got some help from Paraguay and Japan and advanced. Once they made the knockouts, they did everything to survive. They pushed Uruguay to penalties and won. They outclassed Chile in the semis to see the final. Brazil couldn’t break down Paraguay and needed penalties. Then Brazil got a projected final by facing Argentina. Some would say they stole the game with a 2-0 win. Some would say Argentina had two penalties claims wrongfully denied. Some would be Leo Messi, who had multiple calls of corruption relating to the reffing. But Brazil got through and now has their rematch with Peru.
If you believe Leo Messi then don’t worry about watching, the final is already decided. “I think there is no doubt. Unfortunately, I think it is prepared for Brazil [to win it],” Messi said. “I hope that the VAR and the referees have nothing to do and that Peru can compete because they have the team to win, but I see it difficult.”
If you don’t believe Messi, then watch and see if Peru can recover from the group stage. Peru was happy to yield the possession and in turn, goals, in that group stage finale. Brazil had some squad rotation that day but will bring the starters today. Peru had almost no rotation for that game and had in their minds, play for a draw, and it killed them. Peru will be physical and play for the win. Raul Ruidiaz could sub on but likely does not start. Unless Messi is right about corruption, I think Peru follows the game plan they used against Chile (with some of Paraguay’s shutout defense against Brazil sprinkled in) and shock Brazil to win Copa America.
The Gold Cup meanwhile is the final everyone expected, USA v. Mexico. Mexico didn’t look vulnerable until the semis when Haiti took them to extra time. Mexico luckily grabbed a goal and hired the crossbar as a 12th player to keep Haiti at zero. The USA has not looked great all tournament, needing the second half to really find their stride and grab goals. But once they find it, they’ve found plenty of goals. In the semifinal against Jamaica, Jordan Morris got the start and was more impactful than Tyler Boyd has been (outside of the Guyana match). Mexico was the favorite to win but neither side has really turned it on yet, maybe they will tonight.
What to Watch?
- The reffing. The reffing has lightly favored Brazil, but that doesn’t mean corruption or it will again as Messi claims. That said, do the refs change how they ref because they are cognizant of this criticism?
- What does Peru have this time around? Peru was lethargic and failed to settle into the game the last time they played Brazil, what do they do differently now? Peru found three goals with only 38% possession against Chile, can they counter attack through Brazil and score again?
- Brazil has been either very good, like against Argentina and Peru, or very poor, like against Paraguay. What Brazil shows up today? How do they handle a cup final at home? These players all can handle pressure, but they haven’t had to do it in a cup tournament on their own national stage.
- Who from Mexico steps up? Mexico was scoring goals easily during the group stages but has only two goals in the knockout stages and had to go to extra time to advance in both matches. Something stopped clicking when the matches all became win-or-go-home, can they find it again?
- The USMNT has looked dominate in second halves but looked poor in first. Weston McKinnie found a first half goal last match out but the team still looked to be missing something in attack. They could only find a goal but did find many chances against Jamaica with the different starting group, so will that reappear? If they don’t find that rhythm in the first half, will Mexico? Will they be still in it at halftime if they start slow against Mexico?
- Who starts for the USMNT? Does Jordan Morris get the start over Tyler Boyd again? Jozy Altidore over Gyasi Zardes? The Morris and Altidore changes for Jamaica led to significantly more early chances, will Berhalter stick with them?
How to Watch?
Brazil v. Peru
Round: Final (Copa America)
Location: Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho (Maracanã), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date and time: July 7, 2019, 1:00 p.m. PT
TV: Telemundo (Spanish)
USA v. Mexico
Round: Final (Gold Cup)
Location: Solider Field, Chicago, Illinois
Date and time: July 7, 2019, 6:00 p.m. PT
TV: FS1 (English), Univision (Spanish)
Streaming: Fox Sports Go, Univision, FuboTV (affiliate link)
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This is your Sounder at Heart Copa America and Gold Cup thread. Watch with us.