Team USA stumbled in the Gold Cup semifinals against Jamaica, will they be able to get over that terrible loss and win over Panama on Saturday? Jamaica takes on Mexico in the Gold Cup Final and will do their best to become the first Caribbean champions of the tournament. Along with the Gold Cup games, there are several high profile teams playing friendlies. Here are some of the games this weekend that are worth keeping an extra eye on.
USA – Panama (Gold Cup 3rd Place Game):
Team USA will look to rebound from the upset they suffered in the semifinals against Jamaica. The 2-1 loss against the Reggae Boyz was the first time since 2003 that the U.S. was knocked out in the semifinals, and it was obviously a huge upset that 76th-ranked Jamaica were able to beat the Americans.
Panama was not happy with the refereeing in the semifinal against Mexico that they lost 2-1 after two penalties awarded to Mexico. Panama rushed the referee after the final whistle in a really ugly scene, and it wouldn’t be surprising if CONCACAF will hand down some form of punishment for the way Panama acted.
Manchester United – FC Barcelona (Friendly):
Two of the world’s most popular teams in Manchester United and FC Barcelona will go head to head on Saturday at a sold out Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA as part of the International Champions Cup. The home of the San Francisco 49ers will be filled to the brim with soccer lovers looking to get a glimpse of their favorite players. United has won the two first games (1-0 over Club America and 3-1 over San Jose Earthquakes), despite the team not performing that well. Manager Louis van Gaal was disappointed with the second half performance against San Jose, and told the media that he will not switch out the whole 11 at halftime.
Barcelona won their first game of the tournament against the LA Galaxy 2-1 after goals by Luis Suarez and Sergio Roberto. Lionel Messi will not take part in the game as he’s on extended holiday after playing for Argentina in the Copa America.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 22, 2015
Chelsea – Paris Saint-Germain (Friendly):
The champions of England will battle the champions of France as Chelsea and PSG meet up in Charlotte, NC at the Bank of America Stadium on Saturday. PSG has won their two first game of the tournament, 3-2 over Benfica and 4-2 over Fiorentina. 18-year-old Jean-Kevin Augustin has scored three goals in the two games and superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic got on the scoresheet in the game against Fiorentina.
Chelsea suffered a 4-2 loss in the opening game against NY Red Bulls. Manager Jose Mourinho said afterward that if Chelsea played the Red Bulls 10 times then Chelsea would win nine. Sean Davis scored twice for the Red Bulls and Loic Remy and Eden Hazard scored for Chelsea.
Jamaica – Mexico (Gold Cup Final):
Jamaica is the first Caribbean team to make it to the Gold Cup Final and the Reggae Boyz are looking to become the first nation besides the United States and Mexico to win the tournament. Jamaica played a great game against Team USA and after going up 2-0 in the first half after goals by Darren Mattocks and Giles Barnes. Michael Bradley scored early in the second half for the U.S. but the Jamaicans were able to absorb the pressure and came away with an historic victory.
Mexico needed two penalties in order to dispatch of Panama. Roman Torres gave Panama the lead in the 57th minute, despite being a man down since Luis Tejada was sent off in the 25th minute. In the last minute of regular play, Mexico were awarded a penalty and Andres Guardado tied the game and sent it into extra time. In the first half of extra time, Mexico got another penalty, and once again Guardado scored from the penalty spot.
NY Red Bulls – Benfica (Friendly):
The Red Bulls will be full of confidence after the fine 4-2 win over Premier League champions Chelsea earlier in the week as they take on Portuguese league winners Benfica on Sunday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. Although the Red Bulls ultimate focus is on the MLS, it’s a great opportunity for them to play against some of the best teams in Europe and the win over Chelsea is something that they can be really proud over and use as motivation for the MLS.
Benfica lost their first game against Paris Saint-Germain in Toronto 3-2. Anderson Talisca and Jonas scored for Benfica in the loss. First they take on Fiorentina on Friday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT and then travel to New Jersey for the meeting with the Red Bulls on Sunday.