Wednesday, June 06, 2007

2007 Concacaf Gold Cup - Group B Preview

The Gold Cup's Group B is the home of the USA and luck already seems to be shinning down on the red, white and blue as Jack Warner has effectively neutered Trinidad & Tobago. Still, the US has had troubles with 'minnows' before, so this might not be an easy 'set them up and we'll knock them down' in the end.

El Salvador
Fifa rank - 144
Important players - Ronald Cerritos, Eliseo Quintanilla
Odds of advancing from group - 6 to 1
This side is lacking in known talent as no one on the roster currently plays outside of El Salvador and only a few ever have. In many ways that is bad however it might also give them an element of surprise that could make them dangerous. We can expect them to lose many balls in the midfield thus they will flood their final third. Their best hope of making it through is a hot goalkeeper.

Fifa rank - 87
Important players - Carlos Ruiz, Dwight Pezzarossi, Pablo Sebastian Melgar
Odds of advancing from group - 3 to 1
This group offers Guatemala a great chance to settle a score with Trinidad & Tobago as they just missed their chance of getting to Germany due to the Soca Warriors. They have some good skill in attack but over the rest of the pitch, they are sparse. It should be enough for them to walk out of this group, and into a date with the group A winners.

Trinidad and Tobago
Fifa rank - 67
Important players - Sitting at home
Odds of advancing from group - 6 to 1
Due to their federations desire to screw over their players as much as they can, Trinidad & Tobago is fielding their weakest lineup in a long time. Under normal circumstances T&T would give Guatemala a run for that second place spot and might even find a way to force the US into a bad spot, however with no real power to be found anywhere in their lineup, this will not be their year.

Fifa rank - 29
Important players - Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra
Odds of advancing from group - 5 to 4
Gold Cup Winners - 1991, 2002, 2005
If the US does not own this group, something has gone seriously wrong as they are far better then any of the other three. That said, one the US's biggest problems has been winning games against teams they should destroy. If they have a difficult time against Guatemala, like they did earlier this year, it could be a sign of sad things to come.

Predictions: Me - 1.USA 2.Guatemala 3.El Salvador 4.Trinidad and Tobago
Wife - 1.USA 2.Trinidad and Tobago 3.Guatemala 4.El Salvador

Schedule (all games will air on Telefutura and US matches will air on FSC):
June 7 - USA v Guatemala (9pm ET/6pm PT), El Salvador v Trinidad & Tobago (11pm ET/8pm PT)
June 9 - Guatemala v El Salvador (3pm ET/12pm PT), Trinidad & Tobago v USA (5pm ET/2pm PT)
In Boston
June 12 - USA v El Salvador (7pm ET/4pm PT), Trinidad & Tobago v Guatemala (9pm ET/6pm PT)

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