If you have thought that we have no more football until the domestic leagues kick off, we get one of the most none-covered and most exotic continental tournament: the Gold Cup, known also as Copa de Oro. CONCACAF national teams championships take place every two years, usually in the USA.
The host, alongside with Canada & Mexico qualified automatically to the tournament, while the other members of the North-Central American confederation are qualifying through regional tournaments, divided by 2 regions: Central America & the Caribbean. This year, Central American will be represented by Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua & Costa Rica, while in the Caribbean region we can find interesting teams like Jamaica, Curacao and two French oversea regions, Martinique and French Guiana.
At the beginning of the tournament, the teams are divided to three groups. First two teams in each group will qualify to the knockout stage, alongside with the best two third-placed teams. The final will take place on July 26th at Levi's Stadium in the Bay area. Now it's time to take a look over one of the favorites, Mexico.
Mexico had intensive schedule in this summer. The national team took part in two different competitions: the FIFA Confederations Cup & CONCACAF Gold cup. The Mexican football association decided that the Confederations Cup is more important, and sent all the big stars to Russia. The national team that we will see in the Gold Cup will be a mixture of international experienced players and promising youngsters that will hope to impress, in order to try and snatch the very few possible spots in next year squad to Russia.
Even with some kind of reserve team roster, Mexico is probably the favourite to win this tournament. USA has sent a relativity inexperienced squad as well and Costa Rica is maybe the only team that will arrive with its best players. Considering the fact that Mexico is practically the home team even on US soil, no one will be surprised that Mexico will celebrate on July 26th.
Except from Erick “Cubo” Torres, who plays for MLS side Houston Dynamo, the entire Mexican team is composed by Liga MX players. The captain of this team will be the veteran goalkeeper of Cruz Azul, José de Jesús Corona, which it seems that this Gold Cup will be his last international tournament with 'El-Tri'. Another experienced players are Tigres' centre back Hugo Ayala and midfielder Jesús Dueñas and Monterrey's defensive midfielder Jesus Molina. Luis Reyes of Atlas, will be the only player in the squad that played in the Confederations Cup as well.
Among the promising youngsters we have several players that worth a closer look. Club America center back Edson Álvarez, who became an integral part of the starting lineup in this big club. Another Interesting center back is Monterrey's 20-years-old César Montes, who already played last year with the U-23 national team at the Olympic Games. The last defensive player that's worth a mention is Chivas' left back Alejandro Mayorga, that has an incredible story. He got his call-up for the senior national team after an impressive performance at the U-20 World Cup in June, although he didn't made his senior club debut yet.
In the front lines, we will see two of the best players in Chivas title winning squad: central midfielder Orbelin Pineda, one of Mexico top talents, and Rodolfo Pizarro, the attacking midfielder. Next to them we should expect to see Pachuca's midfielder Érick Gutiérrez. Mexico Attack was supposed to be based on Chivas Striker Alan Pulido, however he got injured in a friendly match against Ghana and unfortunately will miss the tournament. Erick Torres, that we already mentioned, had good season with Houston Dynamo. He will play alongside Queretaro's Angel Sepulveda and Pumas winger Jesus Gallardo.
All of the players in this squad knows that they got an opportunity to show that they got what it takes to be part of the squad in 2018 World Cup. The ones that will be able to win the Gold Cup, will get their golden Mexican tickets to Russia. Oro Mexicano.