Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gold Cup Coming Soon to Phoenix and Chicago

The Gold Cup (aka Copa de Oro) will be played July 7-26 at several US (and one Canadian) locations, including double-headers in Chicago and Phoenix. This is the championship of CONCACAF, the soccer federation for our region of the world.

The Chicago (Soldier Field) matches are the first games in Group C on July 9th: Trinidad-Guatemala and Mexico-Cuba.

Phoenix (U of Phoenix Stadium) matches will be the second set of Group C on July 12th: Trinidad-Cuba and Guatemala-Mexico.

That last game (Guat-Mex) ought to be good, the rest are pretty meh. I don't think I'll go; I'd like to see a good soccer game, but I need someone to cheer for. TV will be good enough.

Since the Gold Cup started in 1991, it has always been hosted in the US, although hosting duties were shared with Mexico in 1993 and 2003. This year Canada is officially co-host, but gets only one set of games, a double-header in Toronto.

It might seem unfair that the USA always gets to host this event, but it's doubtful that any other nations in CONCACAF (possible exceptions: Canada and Mexico) have the resources to do it, and of course we shouldn't lose sight of why they hold the event in the first place – money. There are twenty-six matches being held in thirteen large venues – neither Canada nor Mexico could fill that many seats that often at the prices likely to be charged. In 2003, when Mexico City hosted part of the tournament, the only match that did not involve Mexico drew a crowd (if that's the term) of 3,000.

Besides, it's really not all that unfair – most of the countries competing have so many expats living in the US that there's really little or no home-field advantage for our guys.  I recall going to a Gold Cup final a few years ago at Soldier Field in Chicago. The game was USA v. Mexico, and I'm fairly certain Mexican fans outnumbered Americans by a pretty good margin. Damn, it felt good when we won!

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