Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gold Cup final tonight

The Gold Cup final is on tonight between the two teams that everyone expected to get here, Mexico and the USA. The USA struggled in the group stage while Mexico cruised. Then in the knockout stages the USA advanced easily compared to Mexico's come from behind victory and overtime win. Mexico appears to have the better forwards, the USA the better defense when considering the goalie. That to me signals the game will be won in the midfield. If the Mexican midfielders have time and space to control possesion and link up with their forwards then Mexico will likely win the game. The USA center mids of Bradley and Jones will have to come away from the top of their box and challenge their Mexican counter parts.

The attacking combo of Donovan (who I expect back in his starting role)Dempsey and Bedoya need to link up and force the Mexicans to spend as much time worrying about them as they do about attacking. While I do expect Bradley to keep his 4-5-1 formation it would not shock me to see him come out in a 4-4-2 by pushing Dempsey up to forward to pair with Agudela, or possibly a 4-4-1-1 with Dempsey given free rein to move all over the pitch to recieve the ball and make it hard on the Mexican defense to keep up with him.

The biggest fear I have for the USA is their tendency to give up golden chances to other teams in the first 10 minutes of games. If the US side can limit this I like their chances to win. If the US defense falters early I expect the US side to make a hard push to tie it but to come up short as that push will leave their defense exposed with a more wide open game. Expect a 2-1 game with the team that scores first winning it.

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