Gold Cup 2013: Latest Buzz on Each Team Ahead of Semifinal Clashes
The 2013 Gold Cup semifinal games will take place tonight with USA taking on Honduras at 7 p.m. ET and Panama taking on Mexico at 10 p.m. ET.
The teams will be competing for a chance to represent their country in the championship game on July 28 at Soldier Field in Chicago.
With the games rapidly approaching, here's the latest news on all four teams.
After beating El Salvador by a score of 5-1 in their last match, USA will look to continue it's success in the semifinals.
The team has 16 goals already in the tournament, which is seven more than the next highest team.
USA is a heavy favorite in its matchup against Honduras and will look to make good on that and advance to the final round.
The game won’t be easy, though, and USA knows it.
USA has split its last two matches with Honduras and beat them just 1-0 in the teams’ last game.
Still, the Americans’ confidence is sky-high heading into the game.
“We’re getting more and more comfortable,” Landon Donovan said to The Sports Exchange of Yahoo Sports.
Honduras beat this high-scoring USA team by a score of 2-1 in a World Cup qualifying match on February 6.
Coach Luis Fernando Suarez acknowledged the challenge ahead, as he told the Associated Press, “It’s going to be a difficult game.”
Suarez also told Andrew Wiebe of MLSsoccer.com that any national coach would say that Honduras is a “difficult team to go up against.”
If Honduras is going to win, they’ll have to slow down Donovan and keep possession of the ball for as long as possible in order to slow down the dominant USA attack.
Fortunately for Honduras, its goalie Donis Escober has been playing lights out thus far in the tournament.
He has yet to give up a goal in the three games he's appeared in.
Honduras will need more of the same from him tonight if they're going to beat the Americans.
Panama beat Mexico on July 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, and they will look to build on that tonight.
Midfielder Mark Sanchez told laestrella.com that this match “will not be like last time,” however.
Panama gets striker Blas Perez for this game after not having him for its first matchup against Mexico.
“Blas is a very important player for Panama,” coach Julio Dely Valdes told Michael Lewis of CONCACAF.
He’ll surely have to play well in this game for Panama to beat Mexico once again.
If they're to have a good shot of advancing past Mexico, Panama will need a strong effort from Gabriel Torres, as well.
He scored two goals in that July 7 match against Mexico and he'll look to be on the attack once again in this semifinals matchup.
Since the last time that Panama faced Mexico, they have a new right-back with Miguel Layun taking over for Israel Jimenez.
Mexico has really struggled in the Gold Cup, and Andrea Canoles notes that “nothing has come easy” for the team of late.
Still, Mexico is out for revenge and may be able to summon a little extra energy in order to take down Panama.
Critics have said that Mexico has seemed disengaged in Gold Cup play, but coach José Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre said to Andrew Wiebe of MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday that the team "is focused entirely on Gold Cup".
It will be interesting to see if Mexico plays with more energy tonight than they have been recently in the wake of these comments from de la Torre.
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