The 2019 Gold Cup final is one that marks the latest chapter in the United States vs. Mexico rivalry. All the talk about how the power pendulum had shifted in CONCACAF was for naught, as the USMNT and Mexico advanced to the final to set a familiar feel. This is the first USA-Mexico matchup in a Gold Cup final since 2011, when Mexico won 4-2 at the Rose Bowl. Now, 8 years later, they go again for the chance to hoist the Gold Cup trophy.
W (3-1) - Jamaica - Gold Cup Semifinals
W (1-0) - Curaçao - Gold Cup Quarterfinals
W (1-0) - Panama - Gold Cup Group D
W (6-0) - Trinidad and Tobago - Gold Cup Group D
W (4-0) - Guyana - Gold Cup Group D
W (1-0 AET) - Haiti - Gold Cup Semifinals
W (1(5)-1(4) AET) - Costa Rica - Gold Cup Quarterfinals
W (3-2) - Martinique - Gold Cup Group A
W (3-1) - Canada - Gold Cup Group A
W (7-0) - Cuba - Gold Cup Group A
What to watch for
Can the USMNT get some possession? Mexico will look to dominate possession as they create scoring chance after scoring chance against the USMNT. However, the USMNT will need to put something together in order to create opportunities of their own. They may lose the possession battle, but keeping Mexico under 60% possession means that the USMNT is doing its job of taking the ball away and, most importantly, keeping the ball to create those chances.
Take your chances. When the USMNT has a chance to score, they must take it. Some of the great goals in the history of this rivalry occurred when someone just tried a shot. Guys need to be in position to receive the ball, but when they get the ball in the final third, take a shot. Guillermo Ochoa is known to mess up a long shot or two or be out of position. Putting pressure on him will force him to be perfect. And perfect he is not.
Who will create a moment? This rivalry is all about the big moments, moments that transcend the rivalry. Who is ready to make that history? Who wants it more? This is what the fans are up for, and the atmosphere will be electric. Who will give them a reason to remember this match?
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has mainly stuck with his guns with some of the guys that are normally in the lineup. Because this is the final and it’s Mexico, it’s possible he goes with something like this:
Zack Steffen will definitely be in goal, and on the back line it’s most likely he goes with Tim Ream, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, and Nick Lima. In the middle, Michael Bradley gets the start in the middle, with Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic just in front of him.
Up front, Paul Arriola has been a mainstay in the lineup and that shouldn’t change against Mexico. Berhalter also goes with Tyler Boyd and Jozy Altidore in the hopes that they can provide some magic.
How could you not love this matchup? Some people may think this is going to be a bloodbath, but this USMNT has the ability to just pull it off and win the Gold Cup title. Expect it to happen. Jozy Altidore is the hero, scoring the game winner in a 2-1 victory.