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2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Preview

Gold Cup Preview U.S.

Gold Cup Preview U.S.
The 2023 Gold Cup begins this weekend (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Preview

The 2023 Concacaf Gold Cup begins Saturday. The tournament is being hosted in various cities throughout the U.S. and Canada and will last just over three weeks.

The Gold Cup is the biennial men’s soccer championship for nations that are members of Concacaf. These nations consist of the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and countries in Central America, the Caribbean and the Northern coast of South America.

The U.S. is the defending champion, defeating Mexico 1-0 in the last tournament’s final.

In this article, I will be previewing information about the tournament, the favorites, exciting matchups and players to watch.

The Tournament

The Gold Cup is the second big Concacaf tournament to happen this summer. The first, the Concacaf Nations League finals, took place a week prior to the start of the Gold Cup.

The Nations League finals were the culmination of the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League, a competition that includes all members of Concacaf. The U.S. triumphed for the second time in a row, defeating Canada 2-0 in the final. Mexico finished third, beating Panama in the third-place game.

Unlike the Nations League, the Gold Cup consists of only 16 teams. Teams qualify for the Gold Cup through their Nations League finishes. Twelve teams qualified straight to the tournament through this route, including the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Qatar received another invitation to this edition of the Gold Cup, taking one more spot. Qatar, the host of the 2022 World Cup, also participated in the 2021 Gold Cup. The unusual thing about Qatar’s participation in the tournament is that it is an Asian nation and a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

However, in September 2020, Concacaf announced Qatar would be invited to both the 2021 and 2023 Gold Cups.

The final three spots were filled using the Gold Cup prelims.

The games are being hosted across the U.S. and Canada. While the majority of games are being held in the U.S., Canada will play its opening game of the tournament in Toronto. The final of the tournament will be held in SoFi Stadium in Southern California.

How to Watch

All group stage games will be available to watch in English on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. The knockout games will then be on FS1 until the final, which will be on FOX.

Spanish coverage of the games is available on TUDN.


Nicaragua was kicked out of the Gold Cup only 11 days before the start of the tournament after it fielded an ineligible player in eight international matches. Richard Rodríguez Alvarez was born in Uruguay and was not yet sanctioned by FIFA to represent Nicaragua.

Nicaragua was to play in Group A of the tournament, alongside the U.S. They were replaced by Trinidad and Tobago in the group stage, and Antigua and Barbuda took Trinidad and Tobago’s spot in the prelims.

The Prelims

The Gold Cup technically already started with the qualification tournament happening earlier this week. Nations that did not qualify directly for the tournament but still had solid Nations League campaigns participated in the qualifying tournament.

In the first round, Guadeloupe defeated Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana outlasted Grenada, Martinique beat Saint Lucia, French Guiana defeated Sint Maarten and Puerto Rico, and Saint Kitts and Nevis upset Suriname and Curaçao.

These winners advanced to the second round, where the winners of those matches would qualify for the group stage phases of the tournament.

In these games, Guadeloupe defeated Guyana, Martinique beat Puerto Rico, and Saint Kitts and Nevis pulled off yet another upset when it defeated French Guiana.

These three winners took the final three spots in the 2023 Gold Cup.

The Favorites

The United States and Mexico are the favorite to win to win the 2023 Gold Cup. While both teams will be challenged, they have won 15 of the 16 Gold Cup tournaments. It is likely that one of the two will triumph again during this edition of the tournament.

However, Mexico has to be considered the favorite of these two. They are sending a near full-strength squad to the tournament. While they are missing star plays Hirving “Chucky” Lozano and Jesús “Tecatito” Corona through injury, they still have a very strong team that looks more than capable of winning the tournament.

The U.S., although they are the defending Gold Cup champions and have dominated Concacaf of late, are sending a relatively weak squad to the tournament. Most of the players the U.S. is sending play in the MLS, and the European-based players on the team are not usually involved with the U.S.’s “A” team.

Still, the U.S. won the last Gold Cup using a similar roster. With the recent success the United States has had in Concacaf tournaments, they are right there with Mexico as favorites to win the whole thing.


Outside of the U.S. and Mexico, Canada and Jamaica look like the next two strongest teams. Canada has rapidly improved in recent years and is the only team besides the U.S. and Mexico to win the Gold Cup. They will be missing their star players Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, a massive blow for their chances. Still, Canada has a strong enough team to challenge the U.S. and Mexico.

Jamaica has maybe the most interesting roster in this tournament. They have managed to convince English-born players with Jamaican heritage such as Michail Antonio and Demarai Gray to represent the Reggae Boyz at this Gold Cup. Jamaica is sending a full strength roster and could make some noise this Gold Cup.

Costa Rica, Panama, Qatar and Honduras are other teams to keep an eye on.

Interesting Matchups

The opening matchup of the tournament looks like it will be the most interesting one of the group stage. The U.S. and Jamaica will get things started in Group A in Chicago. It will be interesting to see how interim head coach B.J. Callaghan and this weaker U.S. squad fair against a dangerous Jamaican squad.

The winner of this game will likely win the group, which could be key as the loser will likely face Canada in the quarterfinals.

Mexico vs. Qatar is another interesting matchup. Qatar had a good showing during the last Gold Cup, reaching the semifinals where they narrowly lost to the United States. Mexico will have to be weary when these two meet in the final game of the Group Stage in Group B.

Group C is also promising some good matchups. Costa Rica, Panama and El Salvador are all similar in quality and are sure to offer some entertaining games as they fight to finish in the top of the group. Martinique is a sneaky-good team as well, so watch out for the matchups in Group C.

Players to Watch

Jamaica has some of the best players in this tournament that all of their opponents are going to have to account for. Antonio, Gray, Leon Bailey and Bobby Decordova-Reid all play significant minutes in the Premier League. Watch for Jamaica’s attack to be dangerous with all of these players representing the Raggae Boyz this tournament.

Edson Álvarez and Guillermo Ochoa are key players for Mexico that will contribute massively to their success. Also keep an eye on PSV striker Santiago Giménez and Barcelona defender Julián Araujo.

For the U.S., Matt Turner will be crucial in goal. The Arsenal goalkeeper has become the U.S. No. 1 in recent years and guided the U.S. to victory at the last Gold Cup. Defender Miles Robinson, attacker Alejandro Zendejas and striker Jesús Ferreira are other players to watch out for.

Alberth Elis for Honduras, Stephen Eustáquio for Canada and Almoez Ali for Qatar are other players who could make some noise this Gold Cup.

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