After Jozy Altidore’s bicycle kick to give USA a 1-0 lead, both Panama and USA had both effectively given up. Panama needed two goals if they wanted to finish first in Group D, but they were not going to risk injury just so that they could face Curacao instead of Jamaica. El Salvador and Curacao were tied with four points, but Curacao advanced on goal differential which was mentioned in my article about Curacao, found here. USA won by the 1-0 scoreline, and the matches of the Quarter-finals have been determined.
Haiti vs Canada, NRG Stadium
Haiti has had much luck this tournament, with two games under 50% possession, two comeback wins, the second of which, against Costa Rica, featured a penalty kick goal for Haiti to win Group B, and also a game won on an own goal. Canada, meanwhile, has lost a game versus Mexico, who are favored to win the tournament, but won 4-0 against Martinique and 7-0 versus Cuba, with forward Jonathan David scoring a combined five goals in the group stage. The luck ends here for Haiti, who lose 3-0. Canada scores twice from David and records a goal from Lucas Cavallini.
Mexico vs Costa Rica, NRG Stadium
As mentioned before, Mexico is favored to win the tournament, and a loss to Haiti doesn’t help Costa Rica’s resumé. Costa Rica has failed to impress in many tournaments since the 2014 World Cup, including 2015’s edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, in which they tied every game in the group stage before losing the Quarter-final to Mexico. Costa Rica has a bit of déjà vu, losing to Mexico, who have been in top form, beating Cuba 7-0, Canada 3-1, and sending out a (mostly) reserve team against Martinique in a narrow 3-2 game. Mexico wins, 2-0, with goals from Raul Jimenez and Jonathan dos Santos. Many Costa Rican fans are given a chance to audition for Groundhog Day 2, in which Costa Rica has many chances to try until they finally get it right and beat Mexico.
Jamaica vs Panama, Lincoln Financial Field
Panama isn’t exactly a soccer powerhouse, despite bordering Costa Rica and Columbia. I believe the 2018 World Cup was a fluke, and Panama is unlikely to get much better due to their aging roster. Panama had an easy group, consisting of USA, Guyana, and Trinidad. Panama’s only real challenge was USA’s reserve team, and they lost 1-0. Jamaica had a much more difficult group with El Salvador, Curacao, and Honduras. Jamaica did have some issues, but they breeze by Panama, with Shamar Nicholson, Junior Flemmings, and Andre Lewis scoring as they take the game, 3-0.
Curacao vs USA, Lincoln Financial Field
Here is my big upset. Many people don’t give Curacao the credit they deserve, but they will after this one. USA has not faced much attack, and even though Manchester City backup Zach Steffen will most likely be in net, the defense has not been playing all-caliber teams. Curacao isn’t exactly all-caliber, but they pose a significantly better threat than Panama, Guyana or Trinidad. USA’s other big issue: They are significantly better in the second half, scoring 9 of 11 goals in the second half. Curacao has played unbelievably in the second half. The reason: Super-sub Gino van Kessel. If USA can’t stop Van Kessel, who has come on in the second half of every game so far, Curacao will have a field day in the second half. I say Curacao wins, 2-1, with USA taking a lead on a Zardes goal, but Curacao gets a Leandro Bacuna and Elson Hooi goals late in the match, possibly in extra time, and over 5 saves with keeper Eloy Room. If USA loses, it would not be a big deal or cause for panic. Curacao is a team in their prime, ready to contend for the first time ever. USA is rebuilding after losses of Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi, and Kyle Beckerman. The US Men’s national team is rebuilding so a loss to Curacao, no matter how small they are, would not be cause for panic.
So those are the CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarter-final predictions. Thank you for reading, and don’t forget, if you want to see a USA team that isn’t rebuilding, the US Women’s team plays on Friday. I hope to have articles about the Women’s World Cup out by Saturday and the CONCACAF Gold Cup by Monday. Enjoy watching the games!