CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 Group A Preview: El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup takes place from July 10th through August 1st, with the finals in Las Vegas. The United States hosts all the games in 11 stadiums throughout ten cities.
Mexico headlines Group A, the tournament favorite at +115 opening odds (all lines from DraftKings). Manager Gerardo Martino has assembled most of the nation’s top players to compete in this event. The notable exceptions on the roster this summer are forwards Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Raul Jimenez, and goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa. Mexico’s starting XI will still have Napoli’s Jesus Corona at forward, Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera, and Ajax defender Edson Alvarez.
El Tri won the last Gold Cup competition in 2019. Their most recent competitive match was against the United States, where they lost by a 3-2 score in extra time in the finals of the CONCACAF Nations League on June 6th. Mexico is ranked 11th in the world by FIFA. The ELO ratings place them 15th.
El Salvador opened the tournament with +6000 odds to win the event. La Selecta has finished in third place in their group in each of the last five Gold Cups, advancing to the knockout stage once. This group may be El Salvador’s best national team in years under manager Hugo Perez after a recent successful run in their World Cup qualifying matches.
La Selecta enters the event with five victories in their last seven matches over a span where they scored 19 goals. They conceded only twice in their last seven matches, and they have seven clean sheets in their most recent 11 games. Seattle Sounders midfielder Alex Roldan offers a creative spark in the midfield. Toronto FC center back Eriq Zavaleta anchors the backline. FIFA ranks El Salvador 69th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 74th.
Trinidad and Tobago had a +10000 price to win the tournament at the start of the event. The Soca Warriors qualified after defeating French Guinea in a shootout, 8-7, after their match on July 6th ended in a 1-1 score. Trinidad and Tobago finished with only one point in the group stage of the 2019 Gold Cup, where they were outscored by a 9 to 1 goal margin. They last earned a victory in a Gold Cup group stage match back in 2015 when they upset Mexico.
Interim manager Angus Eve will place a special emphasis on this tournament after the Soca Warriors failed to advance to the second round of the World Cup qualifying matches. They entered this event unbeaten in their last six matches. Midfielder Khaleem Hyland leads the team with 32 caps. Columbus Crew striker Kevin Molino is the squad’s primary scoring threat. Trinidad and Tobago rank 103rd in the world by FIFA. The ELO ratings place them 107th.
Guatemala was a late replacement the day before the tournament began after a COVID outbreak led to Curacao pulling out of the event. Los Chapines failed to qualify for the Gold Cup after a loss to Guadeloupe by a 10-9 margin in the penalty kick shootout when that game could not resolve a 1-1 deadlocked score. Guatemala is taking part in its first Gold Cup competition since 2015.
Los Chapines have earned clean sheets in eight of their last nine matches heading into this tournament. They finished last in their group with one point in their 2015 Gold Cup matches. Guatemala ranks 127th in the world by FIFA and 88th in the ELO ratings.