Gold Cup 2013: Breaking Down Every Quarterfinal Clash
Eight teams entered the weekend ready for 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup action, with two national squads already kicked out.
Atlanta's Georgia Dome played host to two quarterfinal matchups on Saturday in two highly differing bouts. While Panama cruised to a rout over Cuba, Mexico gutted out a close call to slip by Trinidad and Tobago.
Panama and Mexico will face off in Texas on Wednesday, but both will have their eyes on Sunday's remaining slate to see who may possibly await them at Soldier Field with the championship on the line.
As the only team to win all of its matches, the United States enters its match as the only national club to win all of its previous fixtures. Jurgen Klinsmann's men will look to move toward their fifth Gold Cup crown, but a hungry El Salvador squad stands in the way.
Here is a look at all of the tournament's quarterfinal action.
Panama 6, Cuba 1
The edge faded quickly, however, as Renay Malblanche was assessed with a handling penalty a few minutes later. Gabriel Torres converted the penalty kick in the bottom left corner to even the score after 25 minutes.
That opened the floodgates, as Torres netted his second goal of the match and fifth of the tournament 13 minutes later to secure the lead. With Cuba gasping for life, Ariel Martinez received a red card for landing a high boot on Blas Perez.
Martinez's shot to Perez must not have done too much damage, as he went on to notch two goals to etch out a landslide victory for Panama.
Mexico 1, Trinidad and Tobago 0
Although the match was not devoid of scoring opportunities, neither squad could break through. Despite controlling most of the contest, Mexico could not land the knockout blow until Miguel Layun set Jimenez up with a crosser.
FOX Soccer tweeted a video of the game's lone goal.
Mexico and Panama will clash for the second time in this tournament. Panama took care of business, 2-1, the first time around. El Tri will have to muster up some more offense in order to take its third straight Gold Cup title.
Goal Mexico! Watch as Jimenez puts Mexico within touching distance of the semifinals: - http://t.co/LmWg0ZmiBp— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 21, 2013
United States vs. El Salvador
Sunday, July 21 at 4 p.m. ET on Fox
Receiving plenty of offense from Chris Wondolowski, who is tied with Torres for the tournament lead with five scores, the USMNT leads all squads with 11 goals. A few more should do the trick against El Salvador, which has not showed much so far with three goals through three matches.
Landon Donovan's return to the national circuit has been a welcome sight for an American club in need of some strong veteran leadership. That will come in handy after Klinsmann shook up the roster considerably, adding Eddie Johnson, Alan Gordon, Matt Besler and Omar González to the mix.
However, Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl noted that the U.S. won't have much of a home-field advantage in a city with a heavy dose of Salvadoran citizens.
If the Americans can stop El Salvador's one-man attack of Rodolfo Zelaya, who has amassed all of his club's scores so far, the United States should emerge victorious.
Baltimore will be Little San Salvador for the USA-El Salvador Gold Cup quarterfinal on Sunday. My column http://t.co/6cwd9cyWyj— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 19, 2013
Honduras vs. Costa Rica
Sunday, July 21 at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer
Honduras is coming off a defeat to Trinidad and Tobago, while Costa Rica narrowly beat Belize, which exited the tournament winless with a minus-10 goal differential.
Both boast strong defensive lineups, so it will come down to who can capitalize on opportunities that won't come aplenty. This has the makings of another 1-0 duel.
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