The stakes will continue to rise as play in the 12th edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup carries on throughout July. Founded in 1991, the CONCACAF Gold Cup is held every two years at various venues across the United States, though Mexico has co-hosted twice in 1993 and 2003. The winner of the 2013 Gold Cup will face the winner of the 2015 Gold Cup in a match that will determine who will advance to represent the CONCACAF in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. The 2017 Confederations Cup is set to be held in Russia, and is often considered a prelude to the next FIFA World Cup.
Gold Cup Tournament Guidelines
The Gold Cup competition is divided into three groups, A, B and C, with four teams per group. The groups participate in a round-robin style tournament, playing each team in their group once. The groups are sorted by wins, draws, and losses. The point system helps to decide who advances in case of a tie in the standings (wins are three points, a tie is one point, and a loss is zero points).
After group play is over, the top two teams from each group will advance, as well as two of the third-place teams. The teams will compete in quarterfinal play before advancing to the semifinals and final, which is scheduled for July 28 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill.
2013 Gold Cup Qualifiers
Pre-qualifying matches are held prior to the tournament. The top five teams from the Copa Centroamericana, or “Central American Cup” qualify for the Gold Cup, as well as the top four teams from the Caribbean Cup. The North American zone automatically qualifies three teams: Canada, U.S., and Mexico.
Trinidad and Tobago
U.S. Continues Quest for Cup
The U.S. has captured four Gold Cups in 11 appearances, but has fallen to Mexico the past two years. However, the U.S. Men’s National Team has proven to be quite lethal this season, notching a 6-2-2 record thus far, and has won its last five matches heading into the Gold Cup.
The return of Landon Donovan after his year-long sabbatical is quite promising for the team, especially since he is a seasoned veteran that leads the all-time scorers list for the Gold Cup with 13 goals. Goalkeeper Tim Howard has also seen his share of field time, and DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore will continue to anchor the team as they look to secure their first CONCACAF Gold Cup in six years.
Both Canada and defending champion, Mexico, fell short to underdogs in the first matches for Group A. Martinique, a country that is not even a FIFA member, defeated Canada with mere minutes left in the contest when Fabrice Reuperne sent a ball into the back of the net. Mexico also unexpectedly struggled with Panama, and after giving up a goal within the first 10 minutes, couldn’t keep up with Gabriel Torres’ two goals in the 2-1 loss. In other action, Honduras captured a 2-0 win over Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and El Salvador played to a 2-2 draw, Costa Rica shut out Cuba, 3-0, and the U.S. cruised to a 6-1 victory over Belize.
Remaining Group Matches
July 11 - CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.: Panama vs. Martinique; Mexico vs. Canada,
July 14 - Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colo.: Panama vs. Canada; Martinique vs. Mexico
July 12 - Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.: Trinidad & Tobago vs. Haiti; Honduras vs. El Salvador
July 15 - BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas: El Salvador vs. Haiti; Honduras vs. Trinidad & Tobago
July 13 - Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah: U.S. vs. Cuba; Costa Rica vs. Belize
July 16 - Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn.: Cuba vs. Belize; U.S. vs. Costa Rica
Quarterfinals: July 20 - Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Ga.
Quarterfinals: July 21 - M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.
Semifinals: July 24 - Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Final: July 28 - Soldier Field, Chicago, Ill.