The 2019 Gold Cup has produced many shocks, but the final match-up could have been predicted before the start of the tournament. Mexico and the USA will meet in the showpiece event at Soldier Field, Chicago this Sunday with the prize of being crowned continental champions on the line. Here are two tips for the match.
Soldier Field, Sunday July 7
We thought it might come to this. Mexico and the USA are the two soccer superpowers in CONCACAF and so having finished top of their respective groups it always seemed likely that the two rivals would meet in the Gold Cup final. And so it proved.
This is the first meeting in a final between these countries since 2011, though. Indeed, both Mexico and the United States are recovering from tumultuous periods in their respective soccer histories. Tata Martino seems to have El Tri pointed in the right direction again, strolling through the tournament (with the exception of the last 16 tie against Costa Rica) despite many of their big names and best players (Javier Hernandez, Hector Herrera, Hirving Lozano and Carlos Vela to name a few) being missing.
Gregg Berhalter, on the other hand, has faced more questions. The USA have won every game they have played at this summer’s Gold Cup, but they have been less than impressive in doing so, beating Curacao just 1-0 in the quarter finals. However, their best performance may have come in the 3-1 defeat of Jamaica in the semis.
This will be the third time that Mexico and the USA have met in the final of the Gold Cup, with Mexico coming out on top twice. These games don’t tend to produce many goals, with just one of their last five meetings producing more than 2.5 goals.
The USA have conceded just once (in the semi final win over Jamaica) at this tournament and so it’s possible that they will try to suffocate Mexico’s attack. That might not result in a free flowing encounter, though, with the Americans still trying to find their form in the attacking third of the pitch. Berhalter seems unsure over whether Jozy Altidore or Gyasi Zardes should lead the line.
Christian Pulisic has three goals and three assists over the course of the tournament and you get the feeling that if the USA are to see off their greatest rivals and get their hands on the trophy this weekend then the newly signed Chelsea star will be the man to deliver the victory. Can Mexico handle him?
As defending champions, the USA will be desperate to hold on to their title, but there’s more at stake than just silverware here. This is a rivalry, but also one with a wider context. The Americans are in the midst of a rebuild after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. A win over Mexico would prove that they are on the right road again.
1u - Back Draw @ +225
0.75u - Back Christian Pulisic Anytime Goalscorer @ +380