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CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinal Thoughts


While Guadeloupe did not come to play and have been hurt by new restrictions within the French Football Federation about who they can field for this tournament, their can be no question that playing two successive matches on turf has helped the Costa Ricans.

Walter Centano’s absence it seems actually helped Costa Rica’s attack as the passing was more fluid, the attack quicker and the over reliance on an aging Centano obviously non existent.

Mexico will crush Costa Rica on a natural grass surface at Soldier Field. This game ought not to be played. The Ticos history in this tournament is one of underachievement especially in front of pro Mexican crowds. Add to that the fact that Costa Rica has proven they can almost never beat a full strength side in CONCACAF off of artificial turf. This semifinal has all the makings of a rout.

Giovanni Dos Santos has been the best player in the Gold Cup. The 20 year old should thank Sven Goran Eriksson for bloodletting him and fellow starlet Carlos Vela in the qualifying last year. Now both are ready to take CONCACAF by storm.

Dos Santos has shown his quality and versatility in this Gold Cup. Whether it’s build up play or simply needing a quick pass into space or even a clean finish, Dos Santos at only 20 looks like a man among boys in this competition.

Omar Bravo’s inclusion in this squad I found a bit odd if Javier Aguirre was really trying new attacking players. But perhaps Bravo is providing some leadership finally. Gerrado Torrado has not surprisingly been outstanding for El Tri.

We hear alot about the popularity of European football in the United States. I wonder when a match involving two European teams will get 82,000 fans on US soil? Well done El Tri fans and Dallas area soccer supporters.

Honduras eliminated Canada from the Gold Cup under what can only be described as controversial circumstances. For the second straight tournament Canada got the short end of the officiating losing to a vastly inferior Honduras “B” team on the night. On the narrow Link pitch, Julian De Guzman didn’t find the space in the center of midfield to direct the Canada attack, and Will Johnson failed to get the necessary width on the right side.

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  1. abe

    July 20, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Larry only few players from this current squad will actually play against the us, the mexican team is missing all of the first team this is as B team as you get. gmonsoon43 go see us VS panama and you’ll see why mexican people loses there heads.

  2. gmonsoon43

    July 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    @Mexican Football—–I agree that Mexican fans are passionate. However, throwing things(mostly beverages) on the field greatly reduces the respect they get from US fans. I am in no way saying “every Mexico fan throws beer”. In fact I would think the supporters of Mexico would be upset to see such themselves being represented poorly by other fans.

    When someone turns on the Panama-Mexico game and they see a player escorted off the field to try and protect him from fans throwing drinks at him how can they have any respect for that! This is even after the teams captain comes over and pleads with the fans to not throw anything. And what is the players offense to have the fans upset, being kicked my Mexico’s manager.

  3. Enrique

    July 20, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Kartik, I love your site but you have really drank the kool-aid on the Mexican team and the FMF. I agree that Costa Rica plays better on turf but let’s not get crazy and believe that Mexico is going to walk all over CR. Javier Aguirre is the right coach for Mexico but he is a better motivator than tactician and I doubt he out-coaches Kenton.

    Costa Rica traditionally has more trouble against Honduras than Mexico, the mistakes defensively Mexico made against Haiti have been costly for them against better teams(ex.: Panama). Costa Rica has the best coaching, chemistry and team play of all the teams in Concacaf even though they have less talent than the US, Mexico, and Honduras. I expect an aggressive Costa Rica to push Mexico back; the team who makes mistakes loses. These two teams come with their base teams, Mexico will use the majority of these players, especially the backline due to all their injuries.

    I think that for so long we think of Mexico as the #1 team in Concacaf that we don’t realize that the distance between the US, Mexico, CR and Honduras are shorter now than ever before. It’s not easy playing any of these teams and they prove their strengths at home. Some Mexican players and media to this day look down on other teams and that is false confidence that only damages their mentality. Just because a lot of the games are gritty and ugly it does not mean that there is no talent, if not, Concacaf wouldn’t have the largest amount of players playing in Europe than ever before.

    Agree with you about Dos Santos, he needs a smaller club to show off his talents and really mature as a player. Let’s also mention Beckerman from the US, Borges of CR and Escober from Honduras that are showing really good play.

  4. Ferd

    July 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Turf is here to stay. The sooner we get used to it the better. I don’t like it either, but FIFA and CONCACAF both say it is okay and MLS, USL and Colleges all play on it as well.

  5. Joey Clams

    July 20, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Andrew, what are you banging on about? Fields THAT narrow? Please. And artificial turf – even the state of the art field turfs – are terrible.

  6. remember the crew

    July 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    From where I was sitting, Tri > USMT technically, and w/ Dos Santos, maybe even athletically as well. Better get some first team players for the final or it’s not gonna be pretty.

  7. Steve

    July 20, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I personally find all the talk of turf fairly pointless. The fact of the matter is that Soccer in the US has not evolved to the point that 80,000 seat stadiums are being built primarily for this sport. The fact that 30,000 seat soccer stadiums are popping up with grass fields. Thats a good start. For now, if a huge crowd is expected, they have to play at a stadium built for a different purpose. Your views on turf have been well documented…constantly discounting results of games on turf really detract from an otherwise decent job of analysis. We all understand that you dislike turf…you’ve made the point VERY clear. The constant preaching on it’s negative point really dtracts from the site.

  8. A-RET

    July 20, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Andrew- Kartik is 100% right about the turf and narrow pitches. In fact I wish he’d talk about the college football lines more again, like those which reappeared yesterday at the Miami FC game. Thank god no Rice-Eccles this year in MLS but boo Houston- you cannot get that stadium built soon enough.

  9. Larry

    July 20, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Honduras has performed well in this event. They are playing very few regulars. Compare their squad from the team we faced last month in Chicago and you’ll see this more a “B” team than Mexico has. Mexico in fact contrary to what you nd others have said does not really have a “B” team. Sure, it’s a different team than Sven or Sanchez played but Aguirre has different ideas about players. With the exception of Marquez and Vela this is his team right here. This is the team he is taking to South Africa if they qualify. What this does is give Mexico a huge competitive advantage over the USA or Honduras both of whom have already crushed Mexico in qualifying this year.

  10. Andrew

    July 20, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Kartik makes some good points about the soccer but his obsession with Artificial turf and narrow pitches clouds his world view. He seems to not realize the new field turf plays almost identical to grass and that narrow pitches are common in England and South Africa ironically where the best league in the world is and the World Cup next year. He makes good points always about tactics and players but these two silly and I mean totally silly and snobbish obsessions kinda ruin it for me, Kartik.

  11. Joey Clams

    July 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

    I find it absurd that games of such consequence should be played on artificial surfaces or on fields as narrow as that of Lincoln Financial.

  12. Mexican Football

    July 20, 2009 at 7:34 am

    You are absolutely right about Giovanni. He is one hell of a player. Did you see that kid smile after his spectacular goal? It just makes you feel good to see him achieve. i wish him nothing but success.

    Cringer, stop your whining. Mexican fans are the most passionate in all of Concacaf. Be glad they are there. Without Mexico, the Concacaf would wither away into nothing. You owe Mexico alot.

    It was beautiful to see the Tri in Cowboys Stadium. They fit in there like a glove. Here’s to, hopefully, a lifelong partnership between Cowboys Stadium and the Mexican National Team. May Tony Romo’s new home also be Aztec Stadium North.

  13. Michael

    July 20, 2009 at 7:09 am

    I’m not sure if you can credit all 82,000 people at the new cowboys stadium to the fact that mexico was playing. It was also the first event help at the most expensive sports stadium in the US/world. The game could have been played between blackburn and bolton and drawn 82,000.

  14. LI Matt

    July 20, 2009 at 5:04 am

    Giovanni Dos Santos has been the best player in the Gold Cup.

    Are you watching, Harry Redknapp?

  15. Cringer

    July 20, 2009 at 2:33 am

    Lack of logic can be debated, but a lack of reasons for your comment Carlos, is clear as day.

    Am I the only one who hates when the Mexican side draws such huge crowds here? I hate Euro teams doing similar though as well. It shows the fans are here, they just are not fans of (in my opinion) the right teams.

  16. Carlos

    July 20, 2009 at 2:17 am

    ” Mexico will crush Costa Rica on a natural grass surface at Soldier Field. This game ought not to be played. The Ticos history in this tournament is one of underachievement especially in front of pro Mexican crowds. Add to that the fact that Costa Rica has proven they can almost never beat a full strength side in CONCACAF off of artificial turf. This semifinal has all the makings of a rout.”

    What ridiculous logic or lack of logic. Costa Rica will win.

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