Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Opening round thoughts

J. Hernandez scores 3 against El Salvador
Ok, every team has a game under their belts. A quick thought on the tournament so far. The opening game between Costa Rica 5-0 and Cuba was as lopsided as the score. Costa Rica is as good as Cuba was bad. Costa Rica will challenge Mexico for the top spot. El Salvador played with poise until the flood gates opened against Mexico in the second game. Once Mexico smelled blood this star studded team opened the offense 5-0 on El Salvador. The opening attendance for a group game was a record at 80,108 in Dallas. This was a great opening night for Gold Cup 2011.

Group B opened to an empty Home Depot Center when (2 Caribbean nations) Jamaica took on Grenada. After watching it on TV, I realized why it was empty. I only counted about 400 to about 1,200 when Jamaica played Grenada. Jamaica looked good enough to go deep in the tournament. The Regga Boyz were tactically better, more athletic and in better shape that the Spice Boyz from Grenada. The second game the attendance rose to slightly over 21,000. After Gold cup 2009, when Costa Rica played El Salvador over 27,000 showed. Since this Gold Cup is more important I was expecting another sell out. There was quite a vocal Guatemala contingent. They cheered when Guatemala did well. Honduras has the talent however they were not to cohesive. I expect them to get better as the “European based” Honduras players get use to each other.

Group C Panama vs. Guadeloupe there were crickets in the stands. Again only a few hundred people were there at the beginning of this game. Panama takes a 3-0 lead only to see Guadeloupe give them a scare and score 2 second half goals. Panama got what they wanted which was 3 points. Guadeloupe is still a dangerous team. The yanks played a 4-4-2 and waited patiently for Canada to make a mistake. Canada played a very slow ball control game. The yanks pulled out a very boring 2-0 victory. Only a miniscule crowd of 28, 209 showed up in Detroit. So no MLS team will be going there. They should have played this in the small MLS stadium. Oh well.

I am looking forward to seeing more J. Hernandez who leads the Gold Cup with 3 goals. Mexico surprised me with their height advantage over El Salvador. My yanks did not look to fluid and did not play an attractive game…(but I am always hard on my yanks). I want them to play like Brazil. I like J. Jones on the ball in the middle. He is calm with people around him. The young tandem of Ream and Goodson played well together in the middle. I am glad Costa Rico will be in the other group. I think Mexico and Costa Rica will play twice. I see Mexico, Costa Rica and the yanks as the top contenders. Jamaica, Canada, Panama looking good. The jury is out on Honduras, they have to get their act together but they can afford it in this group. El Salvador, Guatemala and Guadeloupe are a step behind the pack. Cuba and Grenada make me wish we were still inviting guess teams.


Lorric said...

Costa Rica beat Cuba 5-0, y'know, the same Cuba that is deemed worthy of being in the same pot with Costa Rica and seeded direct into the third round of World Cup qualifying because Cuba were absolutely terrible. Like a schoolyard game with everyone rushing up front and leaving half a pitch of space at the back. A kid with some basic knowledge of football could have coached that Cuban team better than their man did. That and Costa Rica were clinical in front of goal. Mexico beat El Salvador 5-0 because they were just that damn good. El Salvador were doing everything in their power in the first half. Second half, Mexico turned it on, and it was too much for El Salvador.

Jamaica have much improved over their encounter with Grenada in the Caribbean Championship, where a 2-1 win in extra time was required for the victory. This time, they eased to a 4-0 win. I wonder how they'll do. The ref in Honduras/Guatemala flat out screwed Guatemala. Guatemala could have won that match, but instead managed a heroic performance for a draw. The ramifications will continue into the Jamaica match with Guatemala's options much reduced at the back for that game, plus the fatigue factor of Guatemala's intense game vs Jamaica's stroll against Grenada. I will be very surprised if Jamaica don't win that match. Unless Jamaica do something stupid or get screwed by an inept ref, of course.

The referee in Panama/Guadeloupe was one of the worst I've ever seen in my life. But at least his terrible calls and non calls went both ways. US/Canada I was unable to watch due to internet failure. I did catch the first goal though. Looks like the match went about as expected.

Lorric said...

No matter how bad the competition, guest teams just devalue the competition, and should not come.

Maybe the Gold Cup should revert to 8 teams. US/Mexico, 3 from Central America, 2 from the Caribbean, and the winner of a playoff between 4th from Central America and 3rd from the Caribbean meets Canada in another playoff for the final spot.

After the 4-0 over the US on their own soil in their own packed to capacity 64,000 stadium, I wonder what Spain would have done to Cuba...