CONCACAF Gold Cup team previews, players to watch and schedule

A second striker, dos Santos can be a primary playmaker for Mexico, if his head is on straight. He needs to foster his connection with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, help Mexico dominate Group C (as they should), and then let the momentum carry them into an expected grudge match-up against the USA in the Final.

 

Guatemala

Qualified: 2nd place, 2014 Copa Centroamericana

Head Coach: Ivan Franco Sopegno

The Chapines are a scrappy bunch that always seems to embody the attitude of their captain, MLS veteran and long-time crap-stirrer Carlos Ruiz. As with many of the third-tier CONCACAF teams, most of their players ply their trade domestically, with the most notable exception being Seattle Sounders’ midfielder Marco Pappa.

One would think that they’d be a shoe-in for second place in the group, with the outside chance that Mexico falters and leaves them an opening.

Player to Watch: Carlos Ruiz

The one-time MLS MVP who was traded for the right to take Landon Donovan is still making his way in the football world, and he’ll almost certainly be starting up top wearing the armband. He’s a gritty forward who finds a way to nick a big goal even when the rest of his team isn’t quite good enough to compete in the big game. Can El Pescadito still do it, even at 35 years of age? We’ll see.

 

Trinidad & Tobago

Qualified: Runner’s Up, 2014 Caribbean Cup

Head Coach: Stephen Hart

Trinidad and Tobago have had a difficult year in terms of PR, being the home turf of corrupt executive Jack Warner. The team will want to keep their minds off of that business, and on the pitch where they have a tough task ahead.

Like Guatemala, there are a few names you will recognize. Kenwyne Jones has been a Premier League target forward for years (albeit a reserve most of that time).

Joevin Jones and Cordell Cato have held down versatile wide roles in Chicago and San Jose, respectively. But aside from a few players scattered throughout Europe, most of the roster is built with players from the Trinidadian league or throughout Central America.

With Kenwyne Jones involved, you have to think they will play a physical game up front with speed wide. The only question is whether that will be enough to tide them over.

Player to Watch: Kenwyne Jones

He’s the most dangerous guy on this squad, a guy who can get into defenders’ heads and bang in a few goals in the process. He’s fun to watch, when he gets service. If he’s on an island up top without anyone to provide him chances, he’ll be awful lonely, and the Soca Warriors will fall by the wayside.

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