The CONCACAF Gold Cup is one match day old for all 12 of the teams in the field, and already, we're starting to see a clear divide in the teams who have a real shot at winning the tournament and those who are merely fodder for the rest.
Clearly, the team to beat is going to be Mexico. El Tri won't be quite odds on when the Gold Cup futures odds come back up on Monday afternoon, but they'll be darn close. Mexico opened up at +120 to win the tournament, a co-favorite with the United States, but after a comprehensive 3-1 victory over El Salvador, there isn't much doubt that it will be through to the quarterfinals, almost certainly as the Group C winner. That'll setup a game against a third place team from one of the other two groups followed by a match against a runner-up either from its own group (most likely Jamaica) or Group A (most likely Canada or Honduras). That path shouldn't be all that hard at this point, and even if Mexico did finish second best to Jamaica in the group, the path to the Gold Cup championship match will be exactly the same.
Jamaica will see a nice boost in its odds to win the Gold Cup as well after it took care of Curacao by a 2-0 margin. Curacao put up a good fight and probably deserved a better fate than a two-goal loss, but Jamaica has the full share of the spoils after goals from Romario Williams and Darren Mattocks. The Reggae Boyz will surely believe in themselves to finish in the top two in this group with duels against Mexico and El Salvador to play, and there's a real chance to get into the semifinals of the Gold Cup from here before most likely running into Mexico.
The young United States side that Bruce Arena brought in the Gold Cup failed its first test miserably on Saturday night in Nashville. The Yanks were held to a draw against Panama, and the argument could be made that they weren't the better team on the pitch at all over the course of the 90 minutes. Dom Dwyer's goal did put the Americans ahead, but they conceded just 10 minutes later and always looked more like conceding than scoring from that point forward.
The Americans are still +160 second favorites to win the Gold Cup and figure to not have any problems against Martinique or Nicaragua. One more slip though, and this suddenly becomes a scary proposition for the host nation.
Group A more or less went according to plan to open up the Gold Cup. Canada, a 50 to 1 longshot at the outset, was dominant in a 4-2 win over French Guiana, while Costa Rica did enough on a poor night at the office to take care of Honduras 1-0. Now, the two big boys from Group A will play against each other with a spot in the quarterfinals guaranteed to the winner.
Los Ticos, the 4 to 1 third choice to capture the Gold Cup, know they'll have to be better in the knockout stages of this tournament than they were in the first group stage match. They'll get into the quarters with ease, but the reality is that they'll have to go against either Mexico or the United States in the semifinals and the other in the finale to win a major tournament for the first time in their history.
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