Klinsmann Finally Facing Some Selection Questions
Teams finally begin to challenge the US/Mexico monopoly on the Gold CupIf there’s a time for the U.S. to lift the Gold Cup trophy, it’d be now. Sure, they’re deploying a ‘B’ team and wins over Cuba and Belize won’t exactly light a fire in any other international tournament but this is still a competition---a win will send them to the next Confederations Cup slated to be in Russia in a few short years. And the U.S. side looked and played dynamic in their wins over Costa Rica and El Salvador.
Now’s the real test: Honduras in the semifinals. The Catrachos have risen in the ranks of CONCACAF, especially after qualifying for the World Cup in 2010 and subsequently sending their best players to top leagues. They beat the U.S. in the first round of the hexagonal qualifying stages earlier this year, the last time the U.S. suffered a loss in nine matches in 2013. And they haven’t been to the Gold Cup final since 1991, where they lost to the U.S. in penalties.
The U.S. is still reeling from its 4-2 loss to Mexico in the 2011 edition. But their wave of confidence at the moment should help them to not only lift the trophy this year but also provide manager Jurgen Klinsmann with a headache when planning to see how his ‘B’ team players will fit into his ‘A’ side come the World Cup next year.
Canada are the only team other than the US or Mexico to have won the Gold Cup (in 2000), but with the Klinsmann trying a few players out and El Tri (who play Panama in the other semi-final) struggling for form, maybe times are changing in the Gold Cup.