US open Gold Cup play with a draw vs. Panama, 1-1

Posted July 10, 2017

"It's global football, so you've got all the best players around you". He hadn't really impressed that much with the LA Galaxy before earning the Gold Cup call, but Arena knows him well and should give him his chances to regain a key role on the national team.

After all Canada won it in 2000 and they haven't made it to the World Cup since 1986.

For the US, coach Bruce Arena has turned around the team's World Cup fortunes after a disastrous three-game stretch buried the the bottom of the CONCACAF standings and cost former coach Jurgen Klinsmann his job. The defense was nowhere near as impressive as a week ago and the midfield that looked so good against Ghana struggled in the Nashville heat, failing to generate many chances or keep possession.

Also as usual, the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica are the favorites. If Oscar Boniek Garcia can heat up during the tournament, Honduras could produce a run to the semi-finals.

Duplicating that effort will be hard this time due to a short-handed roster, but it's in the name of a bigger cause. Then the Alphonso Davies show began. Here are some suggestions on how to make the tournament better.

Earlier, French Guiana and Canada did not meet on the football field.

The CONCACAF Gold Cup, which kicks off Friday, likely will lack the punch from years past, but it will serve as an introduction for global up-and-comers. Despite this, there are still some decent players who play on some popular clubs in Europe and the MLS on the national team.

One of the biggest flaws of the Gold Cup is how easy it is to make it to the knock-out stages: if you win a game, you're all but in because two of the three teams that finish 3rd in the group stages move forward.

The U.S. would improve after the break, drawing first blood on the 50-minute mark.

French Guiana is an odd entrant in the Gold Cup. Los Canaleros will be missing star defender, Roman Torres, but still have the majority of their top players.

Nicaragua squeaked past Haiti to qualify for this year's Gold Cup, but are unexpected to pose a serious threat to anyone.

For as much as I've ripped United States goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the past-and by golly he's deserved it-he was the only reason Saturday afternoon's Gold Cup opener between the United States and Panama remained level after 90 minutes. Such a feat would be surpassing expectations for the Nicaraguans. Because it is not a member of FIFA, French Guiana is not ranked. The Confederations Cup is like sitting at the cool kids table at lunch. Osorio will be expecting a second straight Gold Cup title from his young but talented roster. If all goes according to plan, the two rivals should be facing off in the final July 26 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

"They do have some talented players who can be unsafe if we aren't sharp and ready to play".

US will be buoyed by a partisan home crowd but if they don't score early then the pressure will build on this largely experimental team. However, a quarterfinal exit is likely the best possible outcome for El Salvador.

Kobe Bryant shares his excitement surrounding the Gold Cup and shares his thoughts on Dom Dwyer.

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has adopted a similar approach, with El Tri only recently completing their campaign at the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russian Federation.