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The CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament wrapped up their quarterfinal matches Sunday and are one step closer to the finals match-up everyone has been looking forward to: United States vs. Mexico.
These two teams were undoubtedly the best in the field coming into the group stage, and are keeping up their reputation as the tournament moves forward. Fans on either side of the border have been patiently waiting for this blockbuster match-up since both teams met their unfortunate fates in the world cup last year.
The United States made their way out of group play, even after a stumble in their 2-1 loss to Panama. The went on to face Jamaica in the quarterfinals, but a solid defensive effort and another good day in net from goalkeeper Tim Howard pushed them on to a semi-finals rematch with Panama. Onlookers believe the U.S. Will bring a better effort this time and prove to be very tough to deal with. They have their eyes fixed on the favorites: Mexico.
Mexico, behind star Manchester United striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, blasted their way through group play with a +13 goal differential. Though Guatemala kept it close in the semi-finals, they were quick work for the Mexican nationals as well. Mexico will match up with Honduras in the next round, but their potent attack should most definitely be enough to put them over the top and into the finals.
If there’s one thing fans must know about tournament soccer, it is in fact that any team can put on a spectacular effort for 90 minutes to beat any other, no matter how improbable it may seem. Panama is the key example. They have already beaten the United States in this very tournament, so obviously there is no guarantee there. In fact, it is tough to even consider the U.S. As a heavy favorite in the match, as they have not looked quite as sharp as they did in 2010.
The favorites do not always win in any sport, but this match-up just seems to want to happen. Hopefully for fans sake, the stars will align, and this heavyweight bout will indeed take place. If both teams can take care of business, expect some serious action on the pitch at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on June 25th.