Mexico and the United States will have a repeat of the last Gold Cup Final as they face each other in Las Vegas. Both teams are coming in after disappointing performances, but as each other’s biggest rivals this should be a hard fought game. Mexico needed a last minute goal to defeat a very spirited Canadian team, while the United States had a lot of luck against a Qatar side that dominated them at times and even missed a penalty kick. Both teams are hoping they will return to earlier success and give a good performance in what will be a very high pressure game.
Mexico started the tournament with all kinds of trouble after a scoreless tie against Trinidad and Tobago, where there was a nasty injury ten minutes in to Hirving “Chucky” Lozano. Although the prognosis was a lot better than expected, he will be out for weeks and missed the rest of the tournament. Mexico bounced back to get a convincing win against Guatemala before once again having a inconsistent performance against El Salvador. In the match, they dominated for 70 minutes before El Salvador turned things around and gave Mexico a lot of trouble, although Mexico would win by a 1-0 score. In the Quarterfinals Mexico gave their best performance against Honduras, although the Central American team had a lot of missing players because of COVID-19 or injuries and Mexico cruised to a 3-0 victory. Mexico then had their most worrisome performance against Canada, something that is common in the Gold Cup in their semifinals. At times Mexico was outplayed by Canada, but they were able to bounce back and get the last minute win. Mexico might be slightly favored, especially because although both teams are going in without their best squads, Mexico is closer to their best team. But it will be a tough battle against their biggest rival, a team that has been improving in their performance and will have less pressure especially after winning the CONCACAF Nations League final against Mexico.
The United States came into the tournament without their best squad after winning the CONCACAF Nations League and sending most of their Euro based members. Yet they were still able to get to another Gold Cup final although their performances weren’t the best at times. They won all their games in a Group that didn’t live up to the pre-tournament hype. Yet the US only suffered against Canada. Then in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals, they didn’t play as well, being at times the inferior team in both matches but were able to pull through. They will face a Mexican side that has a lot more pressure, which is something that in the past they have relished, using it to counter their rivals and get victories. They also just got through Qatar, the team that many thought was the best one in the tournament after Mexico, although many had been sleeping on Canada and their impressive defeat of Costa Rica. Mexico should still be considered the toughest side they play against, and it might be the one where the lack of experience from their side might cost them.
Mexico and the United States gave people a great final in the CONCACAF Nations League. It was a hard fought game that went to extra time and that even needed a penalty stop in the last minutes to stop the game from going to a penalty kick shootout. Neither team looks to be close to their best level in this Gold Cup. Mexico has suffered greatly but will get the boost of revenge, of getting another trophy, and of great news coming from the participation in the Olympic Games. The United States is once again in prime position to get another cup against their biggest rival, which would be a big hit to their momentum for Mexico to lose twice to the United States just before the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers start. It will be another promising chapter of the biggest rivalry in CONCACAF.
Game: Mexico vs. United States
Date: Sunday, August 1st
Time: 8:30 p.m. Eastern, 7:30 p.m. Central, 5:30 p.m. Pacific, 12:30 a.m. UTC
Venue: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas, Nev.