CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinals Preview - 07/25/2021

by Alec McMordie

Sunday CONCACAF Gold Cup: Quarterfinals Preview.

The knockout stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup continues on Sunday with the final two quarterfinals matches at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Both matches are on FS1.

Canada plays Costa Rica in the opening match at 7 PM ET. Les Rouges settled for second place in Group B after a 1-0 loss to the United States last Sunday. They conceded the lone goal in the opening minute of the match but could never level the score. Canada opened the tournament with a 4-1 victory against Martinique. They followed that up with a 4-1 win against Haiti. The Canucks have scored eight times in this event while conceding three goals. 

Les Rouges won the Gold Cup in 2000, and they find themselves amidst a golden generation of talent. Canada has not lost to a team from the CONCACAF region since 2019 before their loss to the Stars and Stripes last week. They entered this event with six straight victories with a 31 to 1 goal margin. Manager John Herman is without two of his best players for this tournament. Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies and Lille’s Jonathan David are training with their professional teams. The Canucks have established depth with Vancouver White Cap’s Lucas Cavallini and Turkish Super League star Cyle Larin leading a potent Canadian attack. Canada ranks 70th in the world by FIFA and 41st in the ELO ratings.

Costa Rica completed their perfect group stage campaign with a 1-0 victory against Jamaica on Tuesday. Bryan Ruiz scored the winning goal in the 53rd minute. The Ticos won the match despite playing with ten men for the final 18 minutes. Leonel Moreira got suspended for this game after being issued a red card in the 72nd minute. Costa Rica defeated Guadeloupe, 3-1, in their opening match in this tournament. They then beat Suriname, 2-1, in their second match. They have scored six times and conceded two goals. 

The Ticos reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. After reaching the semifinals of the 2017 Gold Cup, Costa Rica lost in a penalty shootout to Mexico in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Gold Cup. They have reached the knockout quarterfinals stage of this tournament six straight times. The Ticos were winless in their last six matches in international play entering this event. They lost on penalty kicks again to Mexico in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League on June 3rd. Joel Campbell leads the attack with 20 goals in 102 caps for the team. Midfielders Celso Borges and Allan Cruz form the foundation in the midfield. Borges plays professionally in Spain, and Cruz plays for FC Cincinnati in the MLS. Paris Saint-German goalkeeper Keylor Navas is not on this roster as he prepares for the upcoming Ligue 1 season. FIFA ranks Costa Rica 50th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 51st. 

MGM lists this match as a pick ‘em with the total set at 2.

Jamaica plays the USMNT in the nightcap at 9:30 PM ET. The Reggae Boyz had already qualified for the knockout stage before the loss to Costa Rica by winning their first two group stage matches. Jamaica opened the tournament with a 2-0 victory against Suriname. They followed that up with a 2-1 victory against Guadeloupe on Friday. They have scored four times and conceded twice in their three matches. 

The Reggae Boyz have reached three straight semifinals in this competition with two-second place finishes in 2015 and 2017. Jamaica was unbeaten in 11 straight group stage matches in the Gold Cup before their loss to the Ticos on Tuesday. The team entered this event winless in their last four games, although all four games were friendlies. 

Manager Theodore Whitmore aggressively recruits European professionals who meet the eligibility requirements to represent the Jamaican national team. This roster consists primarily of players who play in the MLS, with a few players who compete in Europe. MLS’s Philadelphia Union is represented with three players in forward Cory Burke, defender Alvas Powell, and Andre Blake, who was named the top keeper in the league last season. Bayer Leverkusen wing Leon Bailey plays upfront. Miami FC midfielders Lamar Walker and Devon Williams patrol the middle of the field. The Reggae Boyz rank 45th in the world by FIFA and 61st in the ELO ratings.

Shaquell Moore scored the opening goal in the first minute against Canada to give the USMNT their third victory in their three group stage matches. The Yanks began the tournament with a 1-0 win against Haiti before a 6-1 thumping against Martinique in their second match. The USMNT has scored eight times and conceded only one goal. 

The Stars and Stripes claimed the CONCACAF Nations League title last month with a 3-2 victory in extra time against Mexico. The USMNT won the Gold Cup for the seventh time in 2017. They finished in second place behind Mexico in the 2019 Gold Cup. Manager Gregg Berhalter is testing his B team at this event, with many of the players that lifted the trophy last month now training with their professional teams. Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund’s Giovanni Reyna, Werner Bremen’s Josh Sargent, and Manchester City’s Zack Steffan will not compete. Nineteen of the 23 players on Berhalter’s roster play on an MLS squad, led by Orlando City striker Daryl Dike. The Yanks enter the knockout stage on an 11-1-1 run in their last 13 matches. They have not lost on home soil since an upset loss to Venezuela in a friendly on June 9th, 2019. In their last 12 games in the United States, the USMNT has scored 48 goals and has conceded only five times, with eight clean sheets. FIFA ranks the USA at 20th in the world. The ELO ratings place them 22nd. 

MGM lists the USMNT as a -1 goal favorite with an over/under of 2.5.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2021 Al McMordie's All Rights Reserved.