The United States are the favorites headed in to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
That may still sound strange to you, but you should get used to hearing it as the U.S. begins to take over CONCACAF on all levels.
Now, for the novice soccer fans it should be noted that the senior squad of the U.S. If you are expecting to see Clint Dempsey and company you will be disappointed. However, as expected, Landon Donovan will be featured on the Gold Cup roster for the Americans.
That is a huge plus.
Other nations will bring in good talent. This won’t be a tournament where the U.S. can easily stroll to the finals before having a competitive match, but they will enter as one of the favorites. In my opinion, the favorites.
When looking at who the favorites are, one must first look at the group stage. That is the first step to winning the tournament. The United States has a favorable draw. In Group C they will have to do battle with Belize, Costa Rica and Cuba—not exactly a murderer’s row.
Once in to the knockout stages things will get marginally tougher. Then it will be up to consistent play from the squad.
What makes the Americans a solid bet to win the Gold Cup is their well-roundedness. This is a well constructed team. DaMarcus Beasley will join Donovan as the leaders of the squad, and that leadership will pay dividends throughout the tournament.
Beasley and Donovan will help bring along the younger talent joining the team. There will be other USMNT veterans such as Herculez Gomez and Clarence Goodson, but for the most part, this is a young team, with none more potentially exciting than Joshua Gatt.
Another piece to the puzzle is the American’s home-field advantage. The Gold Cup will be contested on home soil.
Look no further than recent USMNT performances on home soil to see just how important that is. The American Outlaws are a force opposing nations have to deal with. It will be a boost for the home nation throughout the tournament and could play a role in helping the team in small ways. Do not underestimate home-field advantage.
The USMNT has a collection of talent able to compete with any nation in this tournament. Add in home-field advantage and their shot at hoisting the trophy goes up remarkably.
This is the time, if you’re a fan of the USMNT, to grab your scarves and wear them proudly. We are finally beginning to get this whole soccer thing down. It has taken a little bit of time, but slowly, the U.S. is beginning to build something solid.
Jurgen Klinsmann has his work cut out for him. There is no denying that. This will be a difficult tournament to win, but he has a great shot with this crop of players.
The U.S. is making moves in CONCACAF through World Cup Qualifying, and that will trickle down to Gold Cup success.