Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gold Cup 2011 Groups are set

Ok..The Groups are set. Here they are

Group A Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Cuba

Group B Honduras, Jamaica, Guatemala, Grenada

Group C USA, Canada, Panama, Guadeloupe

Let me chat about Group C first

The big surprise is having Canada with the USA. Let me first say I am a bit surprised. Another surprise is that I like the groups. I thought USA would be grouped with Guatemala/ El Salvador since these 2 nations have great fan support. The Ford Field at 65k will be a challenge to fill when they play Canada. This idea might work since Canada soccer is intertwined with USA soccer. There are Marketing officials (SUM Marketing) must believe that when the Yanks play the Maple Leafs the MLS fans will support their national teams. There is a little rivalry brewing here after the 2007 called that robbed Canada of a goal against the USA. Canada will definitely want to prove their worth against the yanks. Canada has won their group the last 2 Gold Cups and will want to continue their success. They will not have any inferiority complex going against the yanks. Panama will also be a great opponent for the Yanks in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. This stadium has natural grass and is a good venue for soccer if packed. Panama will also challenge for the group winner. Panama has come a long way since 2005. Their youth teams are even showing success. Guadeloupe is the lone Caribbean nation and as predicted will play the yanks at the small Kansas City Venue. Do not over look Guadeloupe! They have made the Gold Cup 3 times in a row. They have talent and are very well organized. Their success lies with their discipline to stay in position. They are hard to break down and have talent to create on offense. This will be a good group to watch.

Group A Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Cuba

Ok Mexico was placed in with the Big Venues. SUM marketing and CONCACAF officials also gave them a great opponent in Costa Rica. These 2 nations have quite a bitter rivalry after the 2007 and 2009 Gold Cups. Mexico knocked Costa Rica out of both tournaments. 2007 was EAT and 2009 had to come to penalties. Tico fans believe the refs have been calling unfair fouls against them. Cuba has been the most consistent Caribbean nation placing in the final 4 nations of the Caribbean Cup. They accomplished this feat 6 Caribbean Cups in a row. El Salvador will have many fans at each of these venues. They packed into the Home Depot Center in 2009 and officials hope they pack these new venues.

Group B Honduras, Jamaica, Grenada, Guatemala

This group is wide open. This group features the Central American Champs (Honduras) and the Caribbean Champions (Jamaica). They both will vie for the group winner. Both of these nations believe they can win the Championship and the attitude will start in the group stage. Honduras will use the World Cup experience as a motivating tool. Guatemala fans are already celebrating. This group might be easier on them than the Central American group they were in. (Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala). This is a great opportunity for Guatemala to attract fans. Grenada has not won a Gold Cup game however this will be their second Gold Cup in a row. Maybe Sharlie Joseph (Revolution) may join in the fun and help Grenada advance out of the group.

I have to say I like the groups. Competitive, great rivalries. I think Group B will be the most fun to watch, I am hoping for a lot of goals. They will be playing at the “best” soccer venues and all these nations will not feel overwhelmed without USA or Mexico in their group. Group C I thin will be a defensive struggle. The yanks play a 4-4-2 and rarly change formation in important games. Canada has adopted a ball control style that will chew up the clock which may result in less scoring opportunities. Panama displayed a very stingy defense in the Caribbean Cup and will continue that form here. Like I said Guadeloupe are rarely caught out of position. They are hard to break down.

Group A will have the titans (Mexico, Costa Rica ) each play El Salvador and Cuba before they face each other. That game in Chicago may be for the group winner.

1 comment:

Lorric said...

Thank you CONCACAF. I got my wishes, Canada put with Mexico or US, and Honduras seperated from those two. It is as it should be. In addition, the pots I spoke of in the last article, there is a team from each one in each group.

It is unusual for the group without US or Mexixo to be the weak one. At first, I though "What a joke!" When I saw the bottom cental American qualifier together with the bottom Caribbean qualifier. But with the top qualifiers from both regions in too, maybe it is balanced. And of course, there is one from each pot.

Also, ever since the rise of Grenada, and the fall of Guatemala, I've been wondering if Grenada could beat Guatemala. I didn't think I'd get the chance to find out though! The Spice Boyz will be looking to get themselves a piece of Guatemala at the Gold Cup! That is a vital match for Guatemala. It is not known if CONCACAF is going through with the revised WOrld Cup qualifying system, but if they do, Guatemala will get out of Pot C for the draw. If CONCACAF reverts back to the old way, Guatemala will be in big trouble! So far down the rankings, they need a result, maybe more than one, or they might get unseeded and eliminated in the preliminary round!

And meanwhile, Jamaica and Honduras should fight it out for top spot and the advantages that go with it.

Mexico and Cuba had a good match in 2007. Maybe it could be another good game. Costa Rica should test Mexico.

US/Canada. Should be fun. ABout damn time Canada had to face one of those two. This looks like the group of death to me. Panama have made great strides, and Guadeloupe have made a huge impact both times they've graced this tournament, and only failed to lift the Caribbean Cup on a penalty shootout loss to Jamaica.

Truly, I could see this being one of the best Gold Cups.