CONCACAF Gold Cup team previews, players to watch and schedule
Player to watch: Anthony Lozano
The Olimpia 22-year old has been the only consistent source of goals for Los Catrachos in 2015. The attacking midfield for Honduras is strong and should kick in their share of goals. But for a team needing a player to step up as their top forward heading to qualification, Lozano is a prime choice. Perhaps a solid Gold Cup could help him get attention from European clubs or from MLS.
Qualified: 3rd place, 2014 Caribbean Cup
Head Coach: Marc Collat
The Haitians are an underdog in this tournament for sure, and their chances for even a single result against three of the tougher teams in CONCACAF are unlikely. American viewers will recognize a few of the names (former Kansas City defender Mechack Jerome and former Colorado goalkeeper Steward Ceus for two).
Maybe the best news for Haiti is that they don’t face the US right away. If they can make some waves against Panama, perhaps they can sneak their way through. Good luck with that.
Player to watch: Kervens Belfort
Belfort is a 23-year old striker in the Cypriot First Division, playing for Ethnikos Achna F.C. He has scored 10 goals for his country, and tied for the most goals in the Caribbean Cup. It will likely be an uphill tourney for the entire team, and while this guy may be their best chance to shine, it’s a long shot for sure.
July 8 (Carson, CA); July 11 (Houston, TX); July 14 (Toronto, ON)
Head Coach: Benito Flores
The Canucks are an interesting enigma in these tournaments. They always seem to have a few solid MLS players, and a couple of guys in the English leagues, but not enough leadership or quality to ever challenge.
But each year that passes brings newer faces, and every incarnation provides hope that a core will develop and bring the team success. Performing well in the Gold Cup would be the first step towards the true goal, to qualify for the World Cup down the road.
A new group of young talent in Tesho Akindele, Cyle Larin, Jonathan Osorio, and Samuel Piette provide some excitement heading into July. They’ve won four straight, giving some momentum, but Costa Rica and Jamaica will be tough nuts to crack.
Player To Watch: Tousaint Ricketts
It’s a lot to ask for Larin and Akindele to being carrying this team already, so Ricketts will be relied upon to be the primary forward for Canada. It’s difficult to see Canada escape the group stages regardless, but if Ricketts can help the team take 3 points against El Salvador, maybe they can survive into the knockouts.