CONCACAF Gold Cup: Power Ranking the 12 Teams
Every two years, the CONCACAF Gold Cup is fought out between 12 different sides on American soil.
In this year's tournament, the following 12 sides are competing for the highest honor in North American international football: Mexico, the United States, Canada, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Cuba, Grenada, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Now that the Gold Cup has kicked off, here is my ranking of all 12 teams in this tournament.
Key Players: Roberto Linares, Odelín Molina and Jaime Colomé
Known for having players defect whenever they visit the United States for either the Gold Cup or for World Cup qualifiers, Cuba has easily been the worst team so far in this Gold Cup.
In their three matches, Cuba have conceded 16 goals and have played terrible football.
It will be interesting to see how many players will not defect to the United States after Cuba is eliminated from this tournament after their match against El Salvador.
Key Players: Craig Rocastle, Kithson Bain and Ricky Charles.
Another side that has been extremely disappointing so far, Grenada have conceded 15 goals in this Gold Cup and have played some terrible football.
This has only been the second international tournament that the Spice Boys have qualified for. The first one was the 2009 Gold Cup, where they finished last overall in their group.
Key Players: Ludovic Gotin, Franck Grandel and Stéphane Auvray.
Even though they technically cannot win the Gold Cup because they are not recognized by FIFA, Guadeloupe did qualify for their third straight Gold Cup.
Even though Guadeloupe have been eliminated by the United States, they lost all of their matches by one goal and were entertaining throughout.
Key Players: Dwayne De Rosario, Atiba Hutchinson and Lars Hirschfeld
After losing to the United States in their first match, Canada looked stronger against Guadeloupe and nearly advanced into the quarterfinals if it weren't for a late stoppage-time goal that denied the Canadians a chance to reach the quarterfinals.
Canada will now look to Brazil 2014 and try to reach the hexagonal stage before attempting to make their second ever World Cup.
Key Players: Ricardo Jérez, Jr., Carlos Ruiz and José Manuel Contreras
After a strong opening round, Guatemala have secured qualification into the quarterfinal following a 4-0 win to Grenada.
This is the first time that Guatemala have advanced into the knockout stage since 2007.
7: El Salvador
Key Players: Eliseo Quintanilla, Rodolfo Zelaya and Miguel Montes.
El Salvador have reached the quarterfinals of this year's Gold Cup, the first time that they have done so since 2003.
El Salvador's most impressive result came in their second match, where they nearly beat Costa Rica but ended in a 1-1 draw thanks to a late goal.
El Salvador will face Panama in the quarterfinals at RFK Stadium in Washington DC.
Key Players: Noel Valladares, Wilson Palacios and Carlo Costly.
After qualifying for last year's World Cup, the Honduras have qualified for the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup after a solid group stage.
Honduras will look to get past Costa Rica to face Mexico in the semifinal.
5: Costa Rica
Key Players: Marco Ureña, Keylor Navas and Álvaro Saborío.
Following a second place finish in the group stage, Costa Rica will now face Honduras in New Jersey in the quarterfinals.
The only bad part of the group stage for Costa Rica came in the form of a 4-1 loss to Mexico.
Key Players: Jaime Penedo, Gabriel Gómez and Luis Tejada
Remembered primarily for their 2-1 win over the United States in the group stage, Panama finished first overall in Group C and looked formidable throughout the group stage.
Panama will face El Salvador in the quarterfinals, and if they win, they will face the winner of the United States and Jamaica in Houston.
Key Players: Demar Phillips, Ryan Johnson and Donovan Ricketts.
An extremely young team, Jamaica have been the most surprising side in this Gold Cup, and they are a side that certainly can beat the United States in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
With this current side playing the way it is, Jamaica certainly will be a side that will be a strong contender to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
2: United States
Key Players: Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey
The United States finished second in Group C and did not look convincing at all during the group stage, which included a loss to Panama.
The US will look to rebound against Jamaica in the quarterfinals, but will need to improve tremendously if they are to do so.
Key Players: Javier Hernandez, Rafa Marquez and Giovanni dos Santos
What can't we say about Mexico? They have been dominant to say the least, despite losing five members of their team due to positive drug tests during the tournament.
Led by Chicharito Hernandez's five goals and some amazing attacking football, Mexico are the odds on favorite to win this Gold Cup and qualify for the 2013 Confederations Cup.