Gold Cup Group Schedule Reveals Mexico Opponents for Alamodome

Gold Cup Trophy

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

gold-cup-logo

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.

FC Dallas Held to Champions League Draw Despite Dominating

CSD Suchitepequez manage to clear the ball off the line (Photo: FC Dallas)

FC Dallas really outplayed Guatemalan side CSD Suchitepequez at Toyota Stadium on Wednesday night but they still couldn’t win. Dallas managed a whopping 27 shots but couldn’t convert any of them thanks to a stern defensive performance from the visitors.

That may be partly due to the starting line up, with a youthful squad picked to start this match including a debut to Norberto Paparatto. There was also a start for Carlos Ruiz who had not played for FC Dallas for almost nine years.

In the 36th minute FC Dallas had their first clear cut opportunity of the match as youngster Coy Craft was able to receive a ball on the right. He beat his man and the shot low to the far post but Suchitepequez goalkeeper got to the ball, pushing it wide for a corner which FC Dallas couldn’t capitalize on.

That would be all the real action of the first half as the Guatemalans were really able to shut up shop well. Dallas were easily held off by the Guatemalan Champions who managed to keep them well at bay, without a single clear chance for the rest of the half.

The hosts came out from the break determined to get back on track and get the lead and 13 minutes in to the half they started to really look dangerous. Victor Ulloa controlled the ball, sent it forward to Tesho Akindele who sent the ball to a wide open Carlos Ruiz who beat the keeper but could only find the crossbar.

After another lull, FC Dallas was able to create another chance in the 71st minute after Kellyn Acosta found Akindele. That allowed Akindele to get to the end of the cross, heading it past the keeper but also wide of the goal.

The only real chance the Guatemalans had was in the 75th minute as a blocked shot fell favorably for Amaury Escoto. That allowed Escoto to shoot, looking to the far post, but Jesse Gonzalez in the FC Dallas goal got across to the ball and sent it wide.

Four minutes from time Kalin Acosta was able to send in a powerful cross for Getterson to get a volley away. Getterson did well to get to such a fast cross, but he scooped his effort wide of goal to let the Guatemalan’s off.

In stoppage time Dallas very nearly stole the win as Timo Pitter was able to nutmeg the keeper, seeing the ball come forward. That looked for Ruiz, but a defender got back on the line and cleared the ball away to safety to salvage the point. That result now means that Dallas will have to get at least a point in Guatemala to seal their passage to the quarter-finals.

FC Dallas Manage draw in Nicaragua

Photo: MexSport/CONCACAF

A late comeback gave FC Dallas a valuable Champions League point as they fought back against Nicaraguan club Real Esteli on Wednesday night. After conceding early, Dallas did well and managed a 1-1 draw in the match to go top of the group.

Just four minutes in to the match, FC Dallas gave away a free-kick just inside from the corner flag. That allowed Emilio Lopez to send in a curling ball, perfectly finding Elvis Figueroa who easily headed it home, looping it over the keeper for the opener.

But FC Dallas quickly fought back and just two minutes later they also earned a free-kick just inside from the corner flag. Mauro Rosales sent the ball to the far post, which allowed Atiba Harris to powerfully head the ball home for a 1-1 draw.

After that frantic start the two teams started to settle down and battle in to a tight match, without the fireworks. The remainder of the half was fought out in midfield and the two teams could not create clear chances and went to the break level at one.

The second half started in much the same way as the first as FC Dallas again gave away a free-kick in a dangerous position early. Luis Copete looked to shoot directly on to goal, but his effort went very high and over the bar.

FC Dallas had their first opportunity of the half came in the 61st minute when Tesho Akindele was able to head the ball for Getterson. That played Getterson through on goal, but Getterson’s attempted first-touch chipped volley which went just over the bar.

It should have been 2-1 for FC Dallas in the 79th minute when FC Dallas’ Carlos Lizarzo and Akindele were able to team up and play in Dallas striker Michael Barrios. Barrios got the ball from Akindele’s cross, but Real Esteli goalkeeper Justo Lorente came across quickly and made the save to keep the point and the 1-1 draw which held to the final whistle.

 

FC Dallas open Champions League with a win

Photo: FC Dallas

FC Dallas got a near perfect start to their CONCACAF Champions League campaign as they managed a 2-1 win over Nicuragua’s Real Esteli at Toyota Stadium. Dallas were made to work for it but a late goal from defender Maynor Figueroa gave the hosts all three points.

After 20 minutes FC Dallas went agonizingly close to the lead when FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Diaz sent a long ball over the Real Esteli defense. That found his striker Michael Barrios who was able to shoot powerfully across the face, the shot broke through the keeper’s hands and off the post but could only find the woodwork.

Nine minutes later Esteli responded and could well have had the lead as midfielder Gregorio Torres worked hard to create the chance. Torres made space for himself 30 yards out and hit a powerful shot, which beat the keeper but could only find the crossbar on the way out.

In the penultimate minute of the half, FC Dallas finally broke through for the opener as Atiba Harris won possession at the back post and headed down for his striker, Barrios. Barrios’ shot was well saved, but Esteli could only half-clear the ball, which fell to FC Dallas defender, Ryan Hollingshead who beat two defenders and returned the ball to Barrios who put it away with his thigh.

Juan Berdun came on as a half-time substitute or Esteli and it took him just three minutes to find the equalizer. A long ball looked to be heading for a goal-kick but Berdun chased it down and ran at the keeper, shooting it over his arms and off the crossbar over the line.

That saw Esteli confident and they looked to hold out looking for a valuable point on the road against the favorites in the group. With ten minutes to play things were looking good for the Nicaraguans but Dallas finally broke through.

With six minutes to play Mauro Rosales received the ball and looked up seeing players available, and he crossed in to the box. That ball deflected to FC Dallas striker Max Urruti, who had time and waited for support before crossing in to defender Maynor Figueroa who sent the ball home.

United States seal passage to Rio

The United States will be in Rio to defend their Gold Medal after a 5-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night sealed their passage to the tournament. Alex Morgan was the star, managing a hat-trick in a clinical performance from the World Champions.

Alex Morgan celebrates wrapping up her hat-trick

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

After it was tight in the early minutes the USA opened the scoring in the 12th minute through Tobin Heath. After a great run in the box, Heath was able to get on the end of a perfect ball from Mallory Pugh, allowing Heath to send it past Kimika Forbes.

That goal led to the match being all USA from that point on as the World Champions controlled proceedings. Wave after wave of US attack came at the Trinidad and Tobago goal, but Kimika Forbes was up to the task.

The second goal finally came after the half hour, as the USA broke through to double their advantage through Morgan. Kelley O’Hara sent in a cross for Lindsey Horan, allowing Horan to head the ball back for Morgan to hit on the run, past Forbes and in to the back of the net.

If those goals didn’t seal things, Carli Lloyd, on her home ground, did so just before the break as she put USA three goals up. Morgan Brian sent in a corner, which found her captain, allowing Lloyd to head through Forbes’ arms, making it 3-0 at the break.

The second half, saw the United States just look to control possession and keep hold of their big lead to qualify for Rio. Trinidad and Tobago never really looked in the match, with the USA holding all of the possession.

USA had their fourth in the 71st minute, putting it away after the ball was bouncing around in the box. Samantha Mewis’ header was blocked by Jenelle Cunningham, falling to Morgan, who returned the header, only for Cunningham to head the ball on to the bar. The rebound fell for Morgan yet again, and this time she buried the chance, tapping it in from close range.

It took just two minutes for the final goal of the match to come as Morgan sealed her hat-trick thanks to a Brian cross. Brian’s ball was perfectly weighted, finding the great run of Morgan, who was able to easily send it in to the back of the net.

Canada qualify for Rio

Canada hit ten Past Guatemala

Canada rounded out the group play in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying in emphatic style as they demolished Guatemala. Two hat-tricks, from Rebecca Quinn and Nichelle Prince, were a big part of the result with Canada running out 10-0 winners at BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday night.

Canada players celebrate Rebecca Quinn's hat-trick

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

It didn’t take long for Canada to start the scoring, as the opened the scoring in just the fourth minute through legend Melissa Tancredi. The veteran was able to get on the end of a cross from Price from the right, allowing Tancredi to head home from close range.

Guatemala’s defense held firm for 20 minutes, but Canada could have been 2-0 up as they saw an effort come off the post. The wait wasn’t long after that effort as Alicia Navas dropped a cross, thanks to a team-mate getting in her way, allowing Gabrielle Carle to easily bury he chance.

In the 35th minute Canada found their third goal after some nice movement off the ball allowed the chance. Janine Beckie’s movement, allowed Allysha Chapman to send the ball in for a wide open Beckie, who sent the ball past the keeper, off Navas’ hands.

Two minutes before the break Canada was able to make it four after some individual brilliance from Nichelle Prince. Prince stole possession, beat her defender, and left the keeper with no chance on a well taken strike.

Canada weren’t done for the first-half yet and in stoppage time they were able to make it five after Didra Martinez gave away a penalty. The referee called for a handball, which allowed Rebecca Quinn to step up and bury the chance.

It took just four minutes in to the second half for Canada to knock Guatemala for six, when Quinn hit an impressive effort from distance, after Tancredi played her in to the space. Quinn completed her natural hat-trick as she headed home a Tancredi cross from just outside the six yard box, tomake it seven.

With such a huge lead, Canada let off the gas in the second half as they looked to just the pass the ball around. But despite that Canada were able to add three goals to hit ten in the final 10 minutes of the match.

Beckie hit a shot that was too powerful for Navas, as she was able to send a powerful effort that bounced in front of Navas. That saw the ball fall for Prince to score another with what was a very simple tap-in.

In the 86th minute it was a lucky bounce that gave Canada their ninth goal as Navas attempted to clear the ball. Tancredi stuck out her leg, sending the ball off her leg and in to the back of the net, for a goal her performance deserved.

The tenth came up with just over one minute to play, when Carle was able to send a ball in to the box, seemingly for Tancredi. But Tancredi let the ball run between her legs, allowing Prince to seal her hat-trick by sending the ball home.