The final of the Gold Cup takes place on Sunday night over in Chicago when the two biggest nations in the CONCACAF region meet to determine the champion as Mexico take on USA in arguably the biggest match in the history of this competition.
Both teams have made it through the draw relatively unscathed and looked the best sides in the competition so here is hoping they produce a final that is worthy of the occasion. Time will tell if that is the case or not.
You would have to say Mexico have had the harder route to this final both in the standard of the opposition they have faced, as well as the fact they have been taken beyond the 90 minutes in both knockout matches thus far. Credit goes to them for holding their nerve on both occasions but I wouldn’t say we are stretching things to suggest that they will be hoping to peak in this match and be more clinical.
Where I have been most surprised by Mexico in this tournament has been how open they have been defensively. They have played a couple of decent sides but they have also played a couple of ordinary ones yet all of them have looked like finding the net against them, which is something we are not accustomed to. The flip side of that of course is that there is much more attacking mite about their play.
When you consider the doom and gloom that was around the Americans heading into the tournament, you would have to say they have been very good so far and probably deserve to win the competition based on what we’ve seen so far. They have been solid enough at the back and much more potent than they were expected to be when it comes to their attacking play. They haven’t had the hardest route to this final but as ever you can only beat what is in front of you.
I guess that could be the biggest problem for America in this final. We don’t know how they will be up against genuine top level experience if it comes down to a tight battle, because with the exception of 10 minutes against Jamaica they’ve not been in one to date. One good thing for the USA side is they will be able to draw inspiration from the women’s side who won the World Cup 10hrs prior to this final.
Hector Moreno was a surprise selection for the semi-final for Mexico but he is likely to remain in the side. Erick Gutierrez is said to be an injury doubt for ‘El Tri’ as they look to win back this title having not even made the final two years ago.
USA recalled Jozy Altidore to their starting line up for their semi-final, a move which worked a treat and it will be interesting to see if they go with him or a more mobile option. Christian Pulisic will need a big night if the Americans are to prevail.
In a strange twist of events, having been completely against USA at the start of the tournament, I find myself impressed by them more than Mexico based on what we’ve seen to date. Mexico have had the tougher route to the final it has to be said, but despite that I expected a whole lot more from them I have to say. That said, I still can’t bring myself to trust USA to bring myself to win a match of this magnitude.
Instead I’ll play the goal line which is surprisingly only two for this match. This has been a pretty high scoring competition and it would be fitting and right if we have an open final to conclude it and with both having more quality going forward than at the back I think that is the kind of final we might just end up seeing. There is enough quality on the pitch in attacking areas to threaten regularly enough for over two to land here.
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