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USA Win 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup

The United States won the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 victory over Panama in front of a 57,920 crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago. Stoke City midfielder Brek Shea scored the only goal of the game in the sixty ninth minute, having only just come of the substitutes bench to replace Tijuana’s Joe Corona. The win gives Jurgen Klinsmann his first title as United States manager and recaptures the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the first time in six years after Mexico won the last two editions. Mexico had lost to Panama in the semi finals this time out, whereas the United States saw off the challenge of Honduras at the same stage.

Three players finished the tournament tied on five goals at the top of the scorers chart and shared the Golden Boot award. They were Gabriel Torres of Panama and Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski of the United States. Panama also picked up the Fair Play award and their goalkeeper Jaime Penedo won the Golden Glove whilst Landon Donovan picked up the overall Most Valuable Player award. The result means that the United States have now won an incredible eleven matches in a row since their 4-2 friendly defeat to Belgium at the end of May.

CONCACAF Gold Cup: Can Honduras or Panama prevent another USA-Mexico final?

The semi finals of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup take place in a double-header at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on Wednesday night with Honduras and Panama standing in the way of a fourth successive United States versus Mexico final. Panama were the last team to break the domination of the big two in 2005, when they made the final but lost out to the United States on penalties at the Giants Stadium. The USA retained their title two years later with a 2-1 final win over Mexico at Soldier Field in Chicago, but the Mexicans had their revenge in 2009 with a thumping 5-0 win over their neighbours at the Giants Stadium and they beat the hosts again in 2011, winning 4-2 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

This time around, the United States are up against Honduras in the first of the two semi finals. The United States have been the form team of the tournament so far and had no trouble brushing aside El Salvador 5-1 in their quarter final whereas Honduras came through a much tighter affair with a 1-0 win against Costa Rica last night. Mexico, who beat Trinidad and Tobago by a single goal in their quarter final, must face Panama, who came from a goal behind to crush Cuba 6-1 at the same stage.

Honduras won their Gold Cup group with two wins and a defeat after they had already sewn up top spot but they lost to the Americans in a World Cup Qualifier in Utah last month with Jozy Altidore scoring the only goal of the game in the second half and the United States are now on a nine game winning streak, so they will be favourites to progress to the final after winning all three of their group games and having scored sixteen goals in their four Gold Cup games so far. Mexico and Panama met in their opening Group A match and Panama ran out 2-1 winners going on to win the group a point ahead of the Mexicans in second place. Mexico have travelled to the tournament with an experimental, all home-based, squad of players, having also competed in the Confederations Cup this summer and opting to send a second string selection to the Gold Cup. Therefore, they could be ripe for another upset against the in-form Panamanians, who are spearheaded by twenty four year old Zamora striker Gabriel Torres, joint top scorer in the tournament with five goals from his three games.

US go clear as Mexico’s scoring woes continue

The United States moved two points clear at the top of the CONCACAF final World Cup 2014 qualifying group as the competition reached its half way point last night. A 2-0 win for the USA against Panama lifted them clear of both Costa Rica and Mexico, who drew 0-0, whilst Honduras beat Jamaica to stay within three points of top spot.

The United States took on Panama at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle, home of Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders, and Jurgen Klinsmann’s team went ahead in the thirty sixth minute when left-back Fabian Johnson of Hoffenheim sent in a low cross for AZ Alkmaar’s Jozy Altidore to convert at the far post. It stayed that way until the fifty third minute when Seattle Sounders’ Eddie Johnson latched on to a ball from Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron and beat Jaime Penedo in the Panama goal to delight his hometown fans with the second goal of the night. The USA hit the woodwork a couple of times as they threatened to build on their lead later in the second half but two nil remained the scoreline despite some late pressure from Panama.

At the Estadio Azteca in the Mexican capital, Mexico played their third qualifier of the week but again struggled to find the net as their run of bad form in front of goal went from worrying to critical. This time Costa Rica were the opponents but for all the attacking talents of Hernandez, De Nigris, Guardado, Barrera and co Keilor Navas’ goal stood firm and Mexico were shut out for the second time in four days. They have now scored only three goals in their six group matches and only one in their last four. At least they’re doing something right at the other end where they have conceded only two goals and kept five clean sheets in their six matches but they desperately need some new ideas going forward in the final third as their regional rivals seem to have well and truly worked out how to stifle their threat and the fans are losing patience with the unproductive football. Club America youngster Raul Jimenez and Giovani dos Santos were both thrown on up front in the second half, but to no avail.

Honduras beat Jamaica 2-0 at the Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa in the third match of the night with an early goal from Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia Ramirez setting them on their way. Jamaica were reduced to ten men in the seventy sixth minute when Reading’s Adrian Mariappa was dismissed and Honduras capitalised on their numerical advantage two minutes from time when Olimpia’s Roger Fabrizio Rojas Lazo grabbed the second goal of the night to seal the victory.

The United States, with ten points from their five games, are now two points ahead of Costa Rica and Mexico, with the Mexicans at the disadvantage of having played a game more. The top three teams go through automatically to next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil, and the fourth placed team will face a play off against New Zealand. Honduras currently occupy fourth spot, a point clear of Panama, with winless Jamaica a distant sixth. The group table now stands as follows:

Team P W D L F A P
United States 5 3 1 1 6 3 10
Costa Rica 5 2 2 1 5 3 8
Mexico 6 1 5 0 3 2 8
Honduras 5 2 1 2 6 6 7
Panama 5 1 3 1 5 5 6
Jamaica 6 0 2 4 2 8 2

Mexico pick up first win in World Cup Qualifying Group

Mexico moved to the top of the CONCACAF World Cup 2014 final qualifying group with a 1-0 win over Jamaica at Independence Park in Kingston last night. The Mexicans, who were playing the first of three World Cup qualification matches in a week that will go a long way towards determining their presence in Brazil next summer, were held at 0-0 until the 48th minute when Aldo de Nigris headed in Salcido’s cross and they managed to preserve their clean sheet until the final whistle for a valuable three points. Their first win in the six team group came in their fourth match following three lacklustre draws and moves them from fifth to first with six points. However, the lack of goals will still be a concern for manager Jose Manuel de la Torre. De Nigris’ strike was only their third goal in the group, meaning that they are still scoring at less than a goal per game, but at least the defence is proving to be watertight with seven clean sheets from their last eight qualifiers.

Mexico‘s next two qualifiers are away in Panama and at home to Costa Rica before they fly to Brazil for the Confederations Cup, but the rest of their group rivals are also in action over the coming fortnight so there’s likely to be a further shake up of the table by the middle of June.

The group table is now as follows:

Team P W D L F A P
Mexico 4 1 3 0 3 2 6
Panama 3 1 2 0 5 3 5
Costa Rica 3 1 1 1 4 3 4
United States 3 1 1 1 2 2 4
Honduras 3 1 1 1 4 5 4
Jamaica 4 0 2 2 1 4 2

Mexico Squad for 2013 Confederations Cup

Mexico manager José Manuel de la Torre named his 23 man squad for the 2013 Confederations Cup last month ahead of their programme of four warm up matches that began with a 2-2 draw against Nigeria in Houston on Friday night. Mexico took the lead after twenty minutes in that match when Pablo Barrera set up Javier Hernandez, but Barrera was sent off seven minutes later and the Nigerians turned the score around with a penalty and then an own goal from Gerardo Torrado before half time. Ten man Mexico fought back valiantly in the second half and salavged a draw with Hernandez’ second of the game.

Next on Mexico‘s itinerary are three World Cup qualifying matches starting with a trip to Kingston to play Jamaica (04-06-2013), followed by a fixture against Panama in Panama City (07-06-2013) and a final test for the team at home in Mexico City against Costa Rica (11-06-2013). They then start their Confederations Cup campaign against Italy in Rio de Janeiro (16-06-2013) followed by Group A matches against the hosts Brazil in Fortaleza (19-06-2013) and finally against Japan in Belo Horizonte (22-06-2013).

The Mexico squad is comprised of players from twelve different clubs with 17 players based in Mexico and just six at overseas clubs. The most represented club teams are Club America, Cruz Azul and Monterrey with four players each. The most capped player in the squad is Gerardo Torrado with 139 caps and the top scorer is Javier Hernandez with 32 goals.

The Mexico Confederations Cup 2013 squad in full is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), José de Jesús Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)

Defenders: Francisco Javier Rodríguez (América), Carlos Salcido (UANL), Diego Reyes (América), Severo Meza (Monterrey), Héctor Moreno (Espanyol), Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL), Hiram Mier (Monterrey), Gerardo Flores (Cruz Azul)

Midfielders: Jesús Molina (América), Gerardo Torrado (Cruz Azul), Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul), Ángel Reyna (Pachuca), Javier Aquino (Villarreal), Héctor Herrera (Pachuca), Jesús Zavala (Monterrey), Andrés Guardado (Valencia)

Forwards: Javier Hernández (Manchester United), Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), Giovani dos Santos (Mallorca), Raúl Jiménez (América)

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