Gold Cup Preview
Going for Gold: Three Keys for the U.S. Against Belize
DaMarcus Beasley and Landon Donovan lead an amped American team into its first match of the 2013 CONCACAF Championship. Jon Arnold on what Jurgen Klinsmann's troops need to accomplish.
BY Jon Arnold PostedOdds are Belize won’t beat the United States when the two teams open their Gold Cup campaigns Tuesday night. In fact, the oddsmakers think it’s more likely the U.S. scores four or more goals than they score three or fewer. But, as any sports fan knows, they play the games for a reason, a truism reinforced this week by a pair of upsets on the first day of the Gold Cup. That’s why, manager Jurgen Klinsmann and his U.S. players insist, the hosts aren’t taking their own Gold Cup opener lightly. They could probably afford to. Belize is making its first Gold Cup appearance after fourth place Copa Centroamericana finish. In that tournament, the Jaguars registered a scoreless draw against Guatemala and a 2-1 win over Nicaragua thanks to a stoppage time goal from Deon McCauley, a star forward who has trialed with the Portland Timbers. The team, currently coached by American Ian Mork, is composed mostly of semi-pro players with a handful of pros playing in Honduras. It’ll be facing a U.S. squad in which Swedish-based Alejandro Bedoya plays in the league with the least quality. He’s unlikely to feature, with Klinsmann sticking to a starting XI that is similar to the one he utilized against in a Friday friendly against Guatemala. The biggest wrinkle emerging from that match was an excellent performance from Stuart Holden in midfield. He could take the place of Jose Torres or Kyle Beckerman. The only way the U.S. would falter in this match is if it completely lost focus. That’s not likely to happen with Landon Donovan, the second all-time leader in caps, making his return to the team and DaMarcus Beasley wearing the armband and lending his veteran advice. If the Americans focus on three keys, they will be just fine.
July 09, 2013
July 09, 2013