ASN Morning Read: It's Gold Cup Time—Finally
The United States takes the field against its first opponent and should cruise to victory, but Belize's coach has some ideas of his own. Elsewhere, we talk "psychological edges" and Honduras-Haiti.
The U.S. begins its Gold Cup quest against Belize in Portland (11 p.m. ET; Fox Soccer). This is the first time the two teams have ever met in international play. The last time the U.S. played in Portland was a 2-0 friendly win over Kuwait in May 1998 in a tune-up for the 1998 World Cup.
Jonah Freedman wrote a really cool piece on minnow Belize and its American coach, Ian Mork. This whole thing is rather awkward considering Mork works as a part-time scout for the USSF.
Anyways, back in 2008, Belize had to play the home leg of a World Cup qualifying tie with Mexico in Houston because no stadium at home met FIFA standards. The coach at the time couldn't get a visa to travel into the U.S. so the federation contacted Mork. He'd previously coached club teams in Belize, several youth national teams, and had served as the Belizean FA's technical director. Mexico whooped Belize 9-0 over the two legs, but nearly five years later he was appointed coach of the senior team again for its first-ever Gold Cup appearance.
Even if the underdogs don't make any noise in the tournament, Mork says his greatest sense of satisfaction will come in showcasing the talents of his players here in the States. “I think some of these guys should be playing in MLS,” he said. “Some of these guys could get contracts out of Belize. They should get contracts out of Belize.”
This would be much more of a feel-good story if the president of the Belize football federation hadn't proclaimed that he wanted his team to "humiliate the United States." You gotta love the spunk?
In Monday's Group B action at Red Bull Arena, Trinidad and Tobago fought to a 2-2 draw with El Salvador while Honduras topped Haiti 2-0. In the opener, Kenwyne Jones scored in the 72nd minute to equalize for T&T after Rodolfo Zelaya scored twice to five El Salvador a 2-1 lead. In the late game, Honduras jumped out to a 1-0 lead just four minutes in and the rest of the match was Haiti putting on a clinic in how not to finish chances.
Stay up to date on everything Gold Cup with ASN's Gold Cup Channel.
Avi Creditor says that beyond players stating their case for a spot in the World Cup, a "psychological edge" is at stake in this tournament. It's been six years since the U.S. stood on a victory podium, winning the 2007 edition at Soldier Field. Winning the Gold Cup might re-establish American dominance, the same way Mexico did in 2009.
Finally, Terrence Boyd was playing American football or dressed up as one or something along those lines. We've always thought he was built like a football player.
July 09, 2013
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