Gold Cup contenders banking on youth

Posted July 10, 2017

Viewed as one of the favorites in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup despite the fact that many of its regulars aren't on the roster for the group stage, the United States men's national team opened play Saturday against Panama in Nashville.

Mexico will have to play up to six games to retain the Gold Cup in the USA, starting on Sunday against El Salvador in San Diego.

Last Saturday, the 65-year-old certainly liked what he saw in the 1-0 friendly win over Ghana as three players made their US debuts and two (forward Dom Dwyer and midfielder Kellyn Acosta) scored their first global goals. The U.S. has finished second four times, more often than any other team, and last won the competition in 2013. That tournament was also the last time Canada scored at the Gold Cup, with Dejan Jakovic's fortuitous opener in the first half against French Guiana mercifully ending the goal drought at 596 minutes.

Panama put on immediate pressure, and Camargo sent a rebound past the outstretched right hand of goalkeeper Brad Guzan in the 60th minute after Guzan made a save on an initial shot by Gabriel Torres.

Zambrano got some good news on the eve of the CONCACAF championship when his team rose nine spots to No. 100 in the Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings. The U.S. fans will be expecting a sixth Gold Cup on home soil. The winners of the four last-eight ties will progress to the semis, with the tournament concluding on 26 July with the match for third place and the final.

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"We have a large number of domestic players because our European-based players need a break", Arena said.

The second games for Group A will be played at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.

The U.S. resume Group B play at 8 p.m. CT on Wednesday, July 12, when they take on Martinique at Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium.

"There are challenges obviously that come with a new set of circumstances but that makes it all the more rewarding once you get the job done", he said. At the club level, Acosta established himself as one of the key players on an FC Dallas team now in first place in the Western Conference of MLS.

U.S. 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.

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Yes, Rowe could have done better on Panama's goal, but his defensive breakdown on the equalizer shouldn't overshadow what was a second straight promising performance from an attacking standpoint.

"Even though the Curacao game was a good test, it really wasn't enough", said Zambrano.

Three teams have automatically qualified for the Gold Cup since 2003, regardless of their standing in CONCACAF.

Alejandro Bedoya and Gonzalez started in place of Arriola and Matt Hedges.

He was traded in January from the New York Red Bulls to Chicago, which won its only Major League Soccer championship in 1998, and has helped turn around the Fire's fortunes.

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The MLS standings show the impact McCarty can have on a team.