Clint Dempsey Stars as USA Advance to Gold Cup Final

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Clint Dempsey hits the game winning free-kick (Photo: Eric Guzman)

The United States has advanced to the final of the 2017 Gold Cup after a phenomenal cameo from Texan Clint Dempsey helped the United States to a 2-0 win over Costa Rica at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night.

After a strong save from Tim Howard, the United States countered beautifully, running down the left and allowing Texan Clint Dempsey to play the ball through for Jozy Altidore. The winger was able to beat the offside trap and his defender, running in from the left, and shooting across the face to score the opening goal of the match.

“I was just trying to give him a good weighted ball, he still had some work to do, and Jozy (Altidore) did the rest.” Said Dempsey.

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Curacao Fight but Ultimately Fall to Mexico

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Curacao have a shot denied (Photo: Eric Guzman)

44,232 soccer fans, mostly supporting Mexico filed in to the Alamodome on Sunday as Mexico took on Curacao and were left somewhat stunned as Mexico managed a 2-0 win, a scoreline that flatters them.

After being outplayed for much of the early part of the match Mexico finally settled and they took the lead in the 23rd minute. A cross to the far post had the Curacao defense scrambling, which left just enough space for Angel Spulveda to get a header away, across the face of the goal and in to the back of the net, a goal they barely deserved.

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Jamaica and El Salvador Forced to Settle for Draw to Close Gold Cup Group Stage

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El Salvador open the scoring (Photo: Eric Guzman)

After looking in charge for much of the match a second half penalty has cost El Salvador dearly as Jamaica managed a 1-1 draw at the Alamodome on Sunday evening, to finish second in Group C in the Gold Cup, with El Salvador third.

“We have to be a lot better than that if we want to advance beyond the quarter finals,” said Jamaican forward Darren Mattocks. “We just were complacent out there, and it’s not good enough, we have a lot of improving to do.”

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Canada Finish Second In Gold Cup Group B

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Milan Bojan makes a save (Photo: Eric Guzman)

Canada will have to settle for second place in Group A following their scoreless draw with Honduras at Toyota Stadium on Friday night.

“If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re really on to something,” said Canadian coach Octavio Zambrano. “What that is, I don’t know yet but I’m willing to bet for something, whether it’s El Salvador, or Jamaica.”

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Red Card Helps Costa Rica Destroy French Guiana

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David Guzman (Photo: Eric Guzman)

French Guiana got reduced to ten men and Costa Rica pounced, allowing them to take a valuable 3-0 win over the Carribean side and go in the box seat of topping Group A in the Gold Cup at Toyota Stadium on Friday night.

“This was a must win for us, I wouldn’t say it’s the kind of win that is going to guide us through, but it’s a long tournament.” Said Costa Rican midfielder Rodney Wallace after the match, “the goals are important in the group stages… we would have liked another goal, but hopefully it’s enough, we’ll have to see.”

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Ineligible Malouda and French Guiana Stun Honduras

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Florent Malouda on the ball for French Guiana (Photo: Eric Guzman)

French Guiana stunned the soccer world on Tuesday night as they managed to push Honduras in their Gold Cup match at BBVA Compass Stadium as they held Honduras scoreless.

They shocked the world from the moment the team sheets were released and French legend Florent Malouda was in the starting XI for French Guiana. There is some doubt about Malouda’s eligibility for the French Guianese national team given he has previously represented another national team. This could lead to not just French Guiana forfeiting this match but potentially being disqualified from the whole tournament.

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Florent Malouda, playing for French Guiana (Photo: Eric Guzman)

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Gold Cup Group Schedule Reveals Mexico Opponents for Alamodome

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Photo: CONCACAF

The CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage schedule has been completed and as a result the three match days in Texas have been finalized following the schedule announcement on Tuesday. Houston and Frisco will host Honduras, Costa Rica, French Guiana, and Canada; while San Antonio will host Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao and Jamaica.

The Alamodome will host the final match day of the group stages and many fans have been excited that Mexico will be playing in the tournament in the Alamodome. But that will now be the weakest match for Mexico as they take on Curacao, with goals sure to be flying in, at time of publication Mexico was ranked 17th in the world with Curacao ranked 148th. Despite that fans in San Antonio should be pleased as the earlier match of the day, Jamaica v El Salvador is potentially one of the best matches in the group stages.

The first matches in Texas will be Tuesday July 11th at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston and will feature Group A. Again the better match is the first match of the double header as Costa Rica will take on Canada, who play in Houston for the second straight Gold Cup, while Honduras will play French Guiana in the second match of the day.

Frisco will host matches on the Friday of that week (July 14th) and will feature Costa Rica v French Guiana and Canada v Honduras. That is the first match day in Texas where the second match is really the bigger match of the day although Honduras will still go in as heavy favorites.

One more match will take place in Texas, and the schedule of the group stages provided some clarity in to what teams could be involved in that. AT&T Stadium in Arlington will host the first semi-final on July 22nd, with the winners of the first two quarter-finals, which means that Texas could potentially see the United States as they sit in Group B, with first and second in that group playing in the first two quarterfinals.

 

Arlington to host CONCACAF Gold Cup Semi-Final as Honduras Placed in Group A

AT&T Stadium will host the first semi-final (Photo used with permission from CONCACAF)

Texas has learned two vital elements of the matches it will host in the 2017 Gold Cup as the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) added more details to the schedule. CONCACAF announced on Tuesday that Honduras will be the seeded team in Group A, while also revealing which matches each venue in the knock-out round will host.

That clarifies part of three of the four match days that Texan cities will host, with AT&T Stadium finding out that it would host the first semi-final. That match will take place on July 22nd and will likely feature either the United States or Mexico, with no draw yet made it is not clear on the paths to the semi-final. The semi-finals will be split with the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California hosting the second semi-final the following day.

Also clarified was a part of the picture for the two group stage matches, slated for Texas’ two Major League Soccer venues. Both FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium and Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium will host a group stage match, meaning that they will host Honduras as the seeded team in that group.

There are 11 nations already qualified to the tournament, and the draw has not yet been finalized, taking place on March 7th with one side still pending. That final spot will be decided in late March as Haiti and Nicaragua will play a two legged playoff to decide the 12th side in to the Gold Cup.

Tickets will go on sale to the public on February 22nd, meaning fans in San Antonio will be able to start buying tickets for the match day at the Alamodome featuring Mexico. All matches will be broadcast in the United States on the Fox family of networks.

FC Dallas Forward Tesho Akindele Called up to Canada Squad

Tesho Akindele in action for Canada (Photo: Kilnsmann2011/Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons License)

Texas has seen another national team call up as FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele has been rewarded with a Canadian National Team call up, the club announced on Tuesday. Akindele was named in  Canada’s January training camp squad by the interim head coach Michael Findlay.

Akindele had his strongest ever Major League Soccer (MLS) season in 2016, as he managed 31 appearances, his host yet, and scored six goals in the regular season. On top of that he continued his run of form in the playoffs scoring a goal for the third straight season.

Since 2015 Akindele has been a regular player for the Canadian National Team after his strong performances with FC Dallas. Akindele has scored twice for Canada, first against Dominica in World Cup qualifying in Canada and then against Azerbaijan in Austria.

Of course Akindele was eligible for representing both the United States and Canada, but on June 2nd 2015 he received his first call up for the two legged series against Dominica. That cap tied the youngster to Canada, the country of his birth and his mother.

The camp will start in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on January 12th, running there until January 18th, Canada’s version of Camp Cupcake escaping the icy north for the week. From there Canada will travel to Bermuda where they will play a friendly against the hosts, ranked 187th to Canada’s 117th on January 22nd.

In his three seasons for FC Dallas, Akindele has appeared in 85 league matches, after a strong collegiate career at Colorado School of Mines. Akindele has scored 18 goals for FC Dallas, coming after a phenomenal output in college, where he scored 76 goals from 83 appearances.

Texas to Host Four CONCACAF Gold Cup Matchdays in 2017

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The 2017 Gold Cup host venues were announced by CONCACAF on Monday morning, with Texas coming up big. Four Texan venues, in three metro areas, will host matches in the tournament including San Antonio with the Alamodome named as a host.

The event will take place in July 2017, with Mexico as the defending champions following their win in 2015. Texas continues to be a regular host for the event, after hosting twice in 2015 in Frisco and Houston, both back as venues in 2017.

San Antonio was the biggest revelation in the announcement, as they are the only Texas city in the list to have not hosted previously. The Alamodome will be hosting the final two matches of the group stages with the last including Mexico as they are the seeded team in Group C.

Mayor of San Antonio Ivy Taylor was featured on the bid video saying “we can’t wait to welcome soccer fans from all over North and Central America and the Caribbean to our city. Let’s show the world that San Antonio is a soccer city.”

Bidding with the Alamodome may well be what pushed San Antonio to hosting the Mexico group, with a higher capacity venue than the other two Texas venues which will be hosting group stage matches. Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium and FC Dallas’ Toyota Stadium will be the other two venues hosting group stage matches in the tournament.

July 11th will see Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium host a Group A double header, with no teams in that group determined. Just three days later those four teams will head up I-45 to Frisco and play each other again at Toyota Stadium.

One more match will be played in Texas with AT&T Stadium in Arligton, the home stadium of the Cowboys playing a knock-out match. That match is not decided yet but odds are strong that it will be the semi-final or the final.