Sport US is clear Gold Cup favorite, even if Arena doesn't want label

23:51  17 july  2017
23:51  17 july  2017 Source:   Sporting News

Morris scores twice, US beats Martinique 3-2 in Gold Cup

  Morris scores twice, US beats Martinique 3-2 in Gold Cup Jordan Morris' second goal of the game broke a tie in the 76th minute, and the United States edged tiny Martinique 3-2 Wednesday night in the CONCACAF Gold Cup after wasting a two-goal lead against a team that is not even a member of FIFA. Failing to break through in the first half, the U.S. built a 2-0 lead on goals by Omar Gonzalez in the 53rd minute and Morris in the 64th.But Martinique, a French overseas department, tied the score on a pair of goals by Kevin Parsemain, the first a long-range shot that went past goalkeeper Brad Guzan on a bounce and the second a pass that hit Parsemain and went in on the deflection.

Howard and Arena may not want to say it, and can't be blamed for trying to be diplomatic, but let's clear up any confusion: This U . S . national team, as currently constructed, is the runaway favorite to win the Gold Cup . It doesn ' t mean the Americans will win

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U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena had to know the question was coming. After calling in World Cup veterans and established American stars Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, as well as dangerous midfielder Darlington Nagbe, Arena surely knew his team would go from being seen as an experimental squad during the group stage to the clear-cut favorite to win the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Gold Cup 2017: Bashing coach Bruce Arena amid USMNT struggles misses point

  Gold Cup 2017: Bashing coach Bruce Arena amid USMNT struggles misses point Bashing USMNT coach Bruce Arena amid his team's Gold Cup struggles misses a much larger point.He first became the United States men’s national team coach 19 years ago, when the sport on this continent still was a curiosity and it wouldn’t have hurt the game’s popularity to have someone in charge who would promote its growth. He was content to concentrate on building a successful program from the wreckage of the disastrous 1998 World Cup and allow that to suffice as his contribution.

After a less-than-desirable finish the last time around, Team USA wants to win, and here are some reasons why you should tune in. (Getty Images). This evening , at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., the Gold Cup kicks off.

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That didn't stop Arena from trying to dance around and avoid accepting ownership of the label he and his team have no choice but to wear.

"There are eight favorites to win right now," Arena told reporters on Monday, two days before the U.S. faces El Salvador in the Gold Cup quarterfinals. "This is the knockout rounds now, so it’s one game at a time for everybody. I don’t think there are any favorites.

Raw USA side delivers big win

Howard wouldn't take the bait either when asked if the Americans were now the favorites.

"You’d like me to say that," Howard said. "Obviously I think we're driven, we’re motivated. Certainly we’re playing this thing to win. In that regard, obviously we have one singular focus. Obviously it’s game by game. Getting to the final doesn’t matter if we don’t take care of business on Wednesday.

USA's first meeting vs. Nicaragua carries big Gold Cup implications

  USA's first meeting vs. Nicaragua carries big Gold Cup implications The USA contested its first official international in the summer of 1916 and somehow, through that century of soccer history, it’s managed to avoid playing the largest country in Central America. The Highest Paying Cash Back Card Is Here See The Top Rated Card Sponsored by CreditCards.com That odd bit of sporting trivia can’t be pinned on the Americans. Nicaragua, which first took the field in 1929, hasn’t really kept up its end of the bargain. Los Pinoleros have struggled to find their footing in a country that’s traditionally paid more attention to baseball, and the results are indicative.

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More likely it was decided before the CONCACAF Gold Cup even began. That much has become clear after the U . S . national team's first two matches of the Gold Cup . "Just be a little bit more consistent," Arena said. " We were sloppy on a couple plays that created probably two or three good

"I wouldn’t say [we're favorites]," he added. "There are some good teams. Obviously we always have Mexico fighting with us. There are other good teams like Costa Rica and Panama. Panama played us tough in the first round. I don’t know about favorites, obviously we feel good about ourselves and the direction which we’re going but none of what I say today matters. We have to go out there and prove it on Wednesday night, and that’s the first hurdle for us."

Howard and Arena may not want to say it, and can't be blamed for trying to be diplomatic, but let me clear up any confusion. This U.S. national team, as currently constructed, is the runaway favorite to win the Gold Cup. It doesn't mean the Americans will win, but looking at all the teams in the tournament, it's tough to justify picking any other nation ahead of the U.S.

Mexico is playing a B-C team, a product of having had to commit its A squad to the Confederations Cup. Throw in the pre-tournament loss of Alan Pulido and you can see why El Tri struggled to truly dominate a rather cushy group. That being said, Mexico has some exciting young talent and can't be ruled out as a potential winner. Especially if the attack can find the rhythm that was lacking in the group stage.

Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore to be added to U.S. Gold Cup squad

  Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore to be added to U.S. Gold Cup squad The midfielder and the striker will both be joining up with Bruce Arena's side for the knock phase of the CONCACAF tournamentThe Toronto FC stars were on Bruce Arena's 40-man preliminary roster for the tournament and were widely believed to be among the changes the U.S. would make to the playing squad after the group stage.

More likely it was decided before the CONCACAF Gold Cup even began. That much has become clear after the U . S . national team's first two matches of the Gold Cup . "Just be a little bit more consistent," Arena said. " We were sloppy on a couple plays that created probably two or three good

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Costa Rica could have been called the tournament favorite when the Gold Cup began. Sure, the Ticos were missing Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas and veteran midfielder Celso Borges, but they arrived with most of the rest of their full squad, led by Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell. Injuries have taken their toll though, with Costa Rica having lost Campbell, Johan Venegas, Bryan Oviedo and Cristian Gamboa.

Canada is an interesting one because the Canucks were one of the real group-stage surprises. Octavio Zambrano's men tied Costa Rica and went undefeated in group play, and now they welcome in Cyle Larin, who is a knockout-round replacement after sitting out the group stage following his DIU arrest in Orlando.

Larin's arrival helps, but doesn't make Canada a Gold Cup favorite. Not when Jamaica and likely Mexico stand in the way of a trip to the final.

Panama looked good in the group stage, and did give the U.S. trouble in their tournament-opening draw, but the Canaleros don't have reinforcements rolling in like the U.S., and they also have to face Costa Rica in the quarterfinals. An upset isn't out of the question in that matchup, but beating a revamped U.S. team would be an all-time Gold Cup upset.

Bruce Arena is calling in the cavalry for the Gold Cup knockout rounds, and you can't really blame him

  Bruce Arena is calling in the cavalry for the Gold Cup knockout rounds, and you can't really blame him The U.S national team coach is calling in full reinforcements for the next round, leaving Saturday's match as a last audition for someThat much has become clear after the U.S. national team's first two matches of the Gold Cup. A lackluster draw against Panama, followed by a thoroughly unconvincing 3-2 win against Martinique has the U.S. still in position to win Gold Cup Group B, but has done little to convince anyone the current squad is capable of helping the U.S. recapture the Gold Cup title.

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Would things be different if the U.S. hadn't called in the cavalry? Yes, the U.S. group-stage squad would have been right on par with Mexico and Costa Rica, but Arena had his cards to play and he played them.

Arena has faced criticism in some circles for calling in veteran reinforcements, but it is outright foolish to suggest the U.S. shouldn't have utilized the tournament's rules as constituted. The notion that playing the inexperienced initial squad throughout the tournament would have been better for the U.S. as a program because of the experience it would have afforded the likes of Dom Dwyer and Kelyn Rowe is quaint and short-sighted. Yes, it would have made for a nice story if an inexperienced U.S. team won the Gold Cup, but that was never Arena's plan.

"We’re bringing in some experienced players, players of quality, and that only helps our team," Arena said. "That was our plan all along. We did it before the tournament."

It would be one thing if Arena had really called in a full-fledged U.S. 'A' team, and forced his European-based contingent to take part in the Gold Cup. That move would have been seen as overkill, and would have meant reducing their summer rest time after June's World Cup qualifiers. Arena didn't do that though. He let Christian Pulisic, John Brooks, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Bobby Wood and DeAndre Yedlin stay home and rest up and prepare for their upcoming club seasons.

Nicaragua 0 United States 3: Gold Cup hosts win group

  Nicaragua 0 United States 3: Gold Cup hosts win group A late header from Matt Miazga helped the United States claim top spot in their CONCACAF Gold Cup group.Joe Corona and Kelyn Rowe struck either side of half-time at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.

CLEVELAND — Maybe Bruce Arena made the decision after Wednesday's unconvincing win against Martinique. More likely it was decided before the CONCACAF Gold Cup even began. That much has become clear after the U . S . national team's first two matches of the Gold Cup .

Red Bull Arena opened the Gold Cup with Group A Matches. He turned his head and smiled, like the words were as clear in his head as if we ’d spoken just the day before. His Metro days are long over, but Octavio Zambrano has not forgotten them - even the brief exchanges with novice reporters at

Arena also could have just as easily brought in the likes of Howard, Dempsey and Bradley from the start of the Gold Cup, but the tournament's format allowed him to let those veterans rest during the group stage while he took a closer look at some new faces.

That decision worked out pretty well, with players like Dwyer, Rowe, Matt Miazga and Joe Corona boosting their stock, and the entire U.S. team facing the pressure of winning a group that wound up being tougher to top than expected.. That was the purpose of the group stage for the U.S., and with the knockout rounds here, calling in his MLS-based standouts made total sense.

Getting young players experience is important, but so is winning trophies. A few more games would have been good for Dwyer and Rowe, but they have already passed the test set out for them this month. They have, without question, earned future national team looks. You can definitely argue for them to have stayed over the likes of Agudelo, Chris Pontius and Gyasi Zardes, but you can just as easily argue that the players who stuck around are better suited to play the reserve roles they will now handle.

The Gold Cup knockout rounds serve as a new, tougher test for a stronger U.S. team. The big guns may have been called in, but there are still plenty of players who stand to benefit from getting to play alongside them. Players like Joe Corona, Kellyn Acosta, Agudelo and Miazga. They will all benefit from a Gold Cup title run if it happens, and Arena's plan has made that possibility much greater.

Of course, the U.S. still has to actually win the thing. As much as the Americans will try to pretend they aren't the favorites, they know full well the pressure is on, and anything short of a title will be a huge disappointment. Every team left in the tournament is looking at the U.S. as the team to beat, and that's the kind of pressure that a coach like Arena surely loves to see his team face. Even if he won't admit it.

Miazga's late goal gives US 1st place in Gold Cup group

  Miazga's late goal gives US 1st place in Gold Cup group Matt Miazga scored on a closer-range header from Graham Zusi's corner kick in the 88th minute, giving the United States first place in its CONCACAF Gold Cup group with a 3-0 victory over Nicaragua on Saturday night. Panama's 3-0 win over Martinique in the first match of the doubleheader meant the U.S. needed a three-goal win to move back over Los Canaleros into first. But the Americans struggled for long stretches against Nicaragua, a team ranked 105th by FIFA.Joe Corona scored his first international goal in four years in the 37th minute and Kelyn Rowe doubled the lead in the 56th with his first international goal, but the U.S.

More likely it was decided before the CONCACAF Gold Cup even began. That much has become clear after the U . S . national team's first two matches of the Gold Cup . "Just be a little bit more consistent," Arena said. " We were sloppy on a couple plays that created probably two or three good

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