The 2015 Gold Cup begins on Tuesday, with the CONCACAF title on the line for 12 countries, plus a trip to the 2017 Confederations Cup at stake.
If the United States wins their second straight Gold Cup, the U.S. would qualify directly for the Confed Cup in Russia. But if a different country wins, then a playoff will be held later this year to determine CONCACAF's representative.
The 12-team tournament features three groups of four teams. After round-robin group play, the top two teams advance to the quarterfinals, as do the two best third-place teams.
Because of the forgiving format, the top three CONCACAF teams aren't likely to have difficulty reaching the knockout stage. The United States, Costa Rica and Mexico were seeded atop the groups, and each is heavily favored to win their group. However, the title race projects to be much closer.
Here's our Soccer Power Index-simulated forecast of every team's group and title finish odds, including team-by-team analysis. (SPI's team rankings and the ratings on which they are based stem from a regression-based algorithm designed to predict soccer matches.)
There was little-to-no fanfare for Mexico fans on Wednesday night following a stale 0-0 draw against Honduras.
After the final whistle had blown, a chorus of jeers and whistles from the fans filled NRG stadium, undoubtedly from El Tri supporters who were justifiably angry with the result. The performance was unanticipated but it's one that Mexico fans may need to be accustomed to during the upcoming Gold Cup.
On paper, El Tri should have dominated and won the match. Despite the impressive leadership...
The last time the U.S. played Guatemala, a 6-0 win on the eve of the 2013 Gold Cup served as a springboard to the tournament title.
So maybe it it's a good omen the Americans will face Los Chapines Friday in Nashville in their final tune-up before this year's regional championship, even if Jurgen Klinsmann anticipates a much stiffer test for the Americans this time around.
"This is a different Guatemala team than we faced two years ago," the U.S. coach said in Thursday's prematch news conference...