The Group without one of CONCACAF’s Giants will be one of the most even and interesting ones.
The group without Mexico or the USMNT will probably get the least attention paid to it. It shouldn’t. This group should be the most competitive in the tournament. Between Honduras, Costa Rica, and Canada, there is a lot of MLS talent, and international players to make the games entertaining. French Guiana will likely be the minnow of the group but could play spoiler to one of the teams.
It’s been a rough 2017 for Los Catrachos. After winning Copa Centroamerica in January, they haven’t won a competitive match and have gone 1-4-3 since, the only win coming in a friendly against Nicaragua. The Gold Cup could be the perfect place for them to rebound and get some momentum to try and snag that fourth spot in the Hex.
They have four MLS’ers on their preliminary roster and all four are expected to join. The striker duo of Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto from the Houston Dynamo will be the two to keep an eye on. Elis could be one of the most talented young players in the tournament, Honduras will likely go as those to go.
Honduras has a friendly schedule in the group stage. After playing in Red Bull Arena for their opener, two games in Texas, including one in Houston will definitely have plenty of Honduran fans. Their game against French Guiana in Houston will definitely have many Dynamo locals come out to support their players as well.
Prediction: 3rd in Group A. The first match against Costa Rica will be the headliner of the group. After that they should pick up three against French Guiana, leading to a showdown against Canada.
Six MLS players are on board for Los Ticos. Francisco Calvo and Johan Venegas of Minnesota United, Ronal Matarrita and Rodney Wallace from New York City FC. David Guzman and Marco Ureña round out the list. There are also familiar names like Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz on the roster. Simply put it’s one of the strongest sides in the field.
Costa Rica comes into the tournament feeling pretty good about themselves. They are currently in very good shape in World Cup Qualifying, their only loss has come in Mexico City. They are going to have their sights on knocking off either the US or Mexico in the tournament.
Their biggest match is the previously mentioned showdown in New Jersey against Honduras. That will likely determine the winner of Group A. The winners of the group will likely be on the same side of the bracket as the US, while the runner ups will almost certainly have a semifinal against Mexico.
Prediction: 1st in Group A. There is too much talent on this team to not win the group. Which means a likely semifinal against the United States. This team will give them all they want in Arlington.
They qualified by coming third in the 2017 Caribbean Cup and have a handful of players making their way through the lower French Divisions. Out side of that I can’t tell you much about the South American country.
Prediction: 4th in Group A. All the others in the group are just hoping not to get tripped up by them.
It will be an interesting cup for Canada, who don’t have World Cup Qualifying to look forward to. This tournament is all about getting younger players ready for 2022 qualification. That includes 17-year-old Alphonso Davies, who just recently made his debut with the national team. Raheem Edwards, Samuel Piette, and Anthony Jackson-Hamel are a few other young players looking to grab the spot light and make their mark.
If all goes to plan in the first two matches, it will once again come down to a game against Honduras to advance. A prospect that Canadian fans have learned to dread. Losses in San Pedro Sula have effectively ended their last two qualifying campaigns. If they can get over the hump and make some noise in the group stage, things will be looking up for Canada for the first time in a while.
Prediction: 2nd in Group A. I talked myself into it. Canada finally gets it done against Honduras. Or at least gets a draw out of it and runs up the score more against French Guiana.