Monday, June 6, 2011

Gold Cup

The CONCACAF Gold Cup kicked off on Sunday as Costa Rica and Mexico both cruised to easy 5-0 victories over their opponents. The tournament will span 13 venues across America over the next three weeks. Here's what you need to know about the region's top dogs, Mexico and the United States.

• Since the Gold Cup began in 1991, nine of the 10 titles have been won by Mexico (5) and the United States (4). The only other country to win was Canada in 2000.

• As expected, ESPN's Soccer Power Index considers the U.S. and Mexico heavy favorites once again. The Americans are given a 38.8 percent chance to win the title, with Mexico right behind at 37.8 percent. Costa Rica and Honduras are the two dark horse candidates at 9.3 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. No other country has chances higher than two percent.
• The United States and Mexico have both reached at least the quarterfinals in all 10 Gold Cups. The only time the United States failed to reach the semifinals was 2000, when Colombia advanced on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw. Mexico has been knocked out in the quarterfinals three times, most recently by Colombia in 2005.

• The United States hasn't lost to any of its Group C opponents since 1985. USA is 7-0-6 in its last 13 matches against Canada. The Americans are 6-0-2 all-time against Panama, including 2-1 wins at each of the last two Gold Cups. USA will play Guadeloupe for the first time.

• Mexico opens with El Salvador, a side that has beaten El Tri only four times in 27 all-time matches, but twice in their last three meetings. Mexico then puts its perfect 10-0-0 record against Cuba on the line, before finishing with Costa Rica in a match that should decide the Group A winner. Mexico has eliminated Los Ticos in three of the last four Gold Cups, including a shootout win in the 2009 semifinals.

Percent Chance to Win Gold Cup

United States38.8
Costa Rica9.3