The Gold Cup is under way, and is the main attraction this upcoming weekend in the world of soccer. Here are a few games to keep an extra eye on.
Jamaica – Canada (Gold Cup Group B):
Jamaica opened up the Gold Cup with a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica. Garath McCleary and Jodi McAnuff got the goals for the Jamaicans. The Reggae Boyz has a couple of interesting names in the squad, including MLS’ Giles Barnes (Houston), Andre Blake (Los Angeles), Jermaine Taylor (Houston), Darren Mattocks (Vancouver), Kemar Lawrence (NY Red Bulls), Alvas Powell (Portland), and Je-Vaughn Watson (Dallas).
Canada played a lackluster 0-0 draw against El Salvador in the opening game. It was a real snooze fest and the Canadians need to improve significantly if there is going to have any hope of advancing.
Costa Rica – El Salvador (Gold Cup Group B):
Costa Rica has a couple of big names in the squad, including Joel Campbell (Arsenal), Bryan Ruiz (Sporting CP), and Celso Borges (Deportivo La Coruna). Roy Miller and David Ramirez scored for the Costa Ricans in the opening game against Jamaica, and will be heavy favorites against El Salvador.
One of the bigger names in the lineup for El Salvador is Rafael Burgos. The 27-year-old forward plays for Norwegian side Fredrikstad and has 13 goals in 45 caps for El Salvador.
IFK Gothenburg – IFK Norrkoping (Swedish Allsvenskan Gameweek 15):
It’s a battle of the two top teams in Sweden right now as Gothenburg and Norrkoping goes head to head on Sunday. Gothenburg tops the league with 33 points, just three points ahead of Norrkoping. Gothenburg have three wins and two draws in their last five games, and Norrkoping has four wings and one draw in the last five.
Lasse Vibe is Gothenburg’s top scorer with six goals so far this season. The 28-year-old Danish striker won the Golden Boot last season and is having another solid season and is rumored to leave for bigger and better things before the end of the summer. Emir Kujovic has been on fire for Norrkoping and has 10 goals so far, and is tied for the lead in the scoring race with Djurgarden’s Nyasha Mushekwi.
Trinidad and Tobago – Cuba (Gold Cup Group C):
Trinidad had a strong showing in the opening game against Guatemala, winning 3-1 after goals by Sheldon Bateau, Cordell Cato, and Joevin Jones. Captain Kenwyne Jones (Bournemouth) is the big star, but there are a couple of MLS players in the squad including Joevin Jones (Chicago), Cordell Cato (San Jose), and Kevan George (Columbus). Trinidad was very effective in the final third as three of the four shots they had on target ended up in the back of the net.
Cuba fell to Mexico, 6-0 in the opening game, and they will have to try and bounce back from that pummeling, but Trinidad will be the clear favorite in this matchup.
Guatemala – Mexico (Gold Cup Group C):
Guatemala didn’t have much luck against Trinidad and Tobago in their opening game, losing 3-1. Captain Carlos Ruiz scored his 58th goal for the Guatemalan national team in his 118 cap. The 35-year-old forward is back with Municipal in the national league, but has a long resume that includes prolific spells in the MLS with the LA Galaxy and FC Dallas. Three players in the current squad plays in the MLS, Elias Vasquez (Real Salt Lake), Moises Hernandez (Dallas), and Marco Pappa (Seattle).
Mexico was dominant in the opening game against Cuba, winning 6-0. Oribe Peralta scored a hat trick and Carlos Vela, Andres Guardado, and Giovani Dos Santos also got on the scoresheet for the Mexicans. It was an extremely one-sided affair, with Mexico having almost 80 percent of the ball possession. They will be a high spirits heading into the game against Guatemala, another team that they should beat pretty handedly.