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Friday, July 26, 2013

USA, Mexico, Panama and an unprecendented 2013 Gold Cup

Landon Donovan was once again a star for the US National team as they defeated, handily, a Honduran side that looked like a specter of the team that defeated Costa Rica just days before. Cohesiveness in the attack, great defensive work and Eddie Johnson's placement contributed to the continuing United States dominance of this year's Gold Cup.

Photo credit: Reuters

Unlike Team USA, Mexico has continued on an unprecedented tailspin that was initiated by a winless, scoreless run at the Azteca in the Hexagonal's World Cup Qualifiers. Three points in what should have been nine. Then came a Confederations Cup that was just as disappointing. Couple this with two losses to Panama in the Gold Cup and a premature exit in the semifinals and "El Tri" is at a crossroads and a "Chepo" de La Torre in danger of being fired as coach.

Then there is Panama. A new kid is in town. With Torres as the new darling for the "Canaleros" scoring in nearly every match and nearing a DP salary at Colorado, this squad is looking like a favorite to qualify for Brazil 2014, even if the standings don't favor it at this point.

The final this Sunday should be an interesting match. A repeat of the 2005 Gold Cup and one where the Americans are expected to impose their style and poise, a Kyle Beckerman that looks like a viable option behind Bradley and Jones, a resurging and recharged Donovan and the myriad of options at midfield. If Panama wins it, it could be blamed on Klinsmann's absence (if it occurs) or in pure statistics given the 10-game run the Americans are on. Whatever happens, it should be fun to watch.

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