We’ve reached the knockout stages of the 2015 Gold Cup. Team USA are looking for another tournament win, and Cuba is the first hurdle they will need to get past. The preseason friendlies are kicking off as well and Paris Saint-Germain will take on Benfica in Canada. Here are a few games to keep an extra eye on this weekend.
USA – Cuba (Gold Cup):
The United States went undefeated through the group stages and topped Group A with seven points. They opened up with a 2-1 win against Honduras after a brace by Clint Dempsey. The Americans didn’t play a very good game, but they did enough to grab the win.
The same can be said about the following game when they squeezed by Haiti 1-0. Once against it was Dempsey that found the back of the net for team USA. The final group game was a lackluster affair against Panama that ended in a 1-1 draw. Panama took the lead in the first half, but Michael Bradley saved a point for the U.S. with a goal in the second half.
Cuba had a horrible start to the tournament as they got absolutely destroyed in the opening game against Mexico, losing 6-0. They followed that up with another loss, this time against Trinidad and Tobago 2-0. But in the final game against Guatemala, they managed to find a way and won 1-0 after a goal by Maikel Reyes in the second half. The win was enough to take them through as one of the best third-placed teams and get into the knockout stages.
Team USA will have a massive support at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Haiti – Jamaica (Gold Cup):
Just like the U.S., Jamaica went undefeated through the group stages and won Group B with seven points. They started off the tournament with a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica. The Jamaicans came back after trailing 2-1 at halftime. Jobi McAnuff saved the point for the Reggae Boyz.
In the second game, they managed to grab a 1-0 victory over Canada after Rodolph Austin scored the winner in the 92nd minute. Jamaica followed that up with another 1-0 win over El Salvador in the final group stage game. Garath McCleary scored the lone goal of the game.
Benfica – Paris Saint-Germain (Friendly):
As part of the International Champions Cup, Benfica and Paris Saint-Germain will meet up at BMO Field in Toronto on Saturday. The friendly tournament features some of the best clubs in Europe and is on its third year. Clubs like PSG, Manchester United and Barcelona will play in the United States and Canada.
Benfica won the Portuguese league championship last season for back to back championships and a total of 34th league titles, and will relish to gear up for the new season by taking on quality opponents like PSG.
PSG won the French Ligue 1 for the third straight year, and it’s clear that they are the big powerhouse in French soccer. There has been some speculation about some of the star players at the club like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani, but they will be with the team on the North American Tour.
Trinidad and Tobago – Panama (Gold Cup):
Trinidad and Tobago won their group as well with seven points after two wins and a draw in Group C. They kicked off the tournament with a 3-1 win over Guatemala. Trinidad scored three goals in the first half in a span of 14 minutes and pretty much killed the game after 25 minutes. That was followed up with a 2-0 win over Cuba and a goals galore game against Mexico in the final game of the group stage as that game ended in a 4-4 draw.
Panama hasn’t been the most exciting team to watch in the tournament, but they have been extremely consistent. All three group games against Haiti, Honduras and the United States ended in 1-1 draws. The most astonishing thing is that they’ve had the lead in all three games as well.
Mexico – Costa Rica (Gold Cup):
Mexico and Costa Rica will do battle at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Sunday. Both teams ended up in second in their respective groups. Mexico started off the tournament with that 6-0 thrashing of Cuba, but in the following game they failed to find the back off the net as they drew 0-0 against Guatemala.
In the final game they drew 4-4 against Trinidad and Tobago. Oribe Peralta scored a hat trick against Cuba and Andres Guardado also has three goals so far after two in the opening game and one against Trinidad, a goal that could be in contention for goal of the tournament.
Costa Rica drew all three group games, 2-2 against Jamaica, followed by a 1-1 draw against El Salvador. Then in the final game they had a scoreless draw against Canada.