So who’s in Group A?
When do they play?
Friday, July 7th – Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
French Guiana v Canada
Honduras v Costa Rica
Tuesday, July 11th – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Costa Rica v Canada
Honduras v French Guiana
Friday, July 14th – Toyota Stadium, Frisco
Costa Rica v French Guiana
Canada v Honduras
Obviously Costa Rica is the clear favorite in their group. Los Ticos, on the other hand, field Johan Venegas, current disappointing Loon. Los Ticos have been playing well in this round of World Cup qualifying but couldn’t make it out of the Group Stage at the Copa America Centenario last year and lost in the quarterfinals of the 2015 edition of the Gold Cup.
Honduras will look to challenge but they haven’t actually won a game outside of Central America in over a year. I’d say Canada might also challenge them, but I’m not high on PCP. It should be noted that Canada is the only team not named the USA or Mexico to win this tournament and they will be without Cyle “Wrong Way” Larin for at least the Group Stage. The less said about French Guiana, the better.
Who to watch?
Costa Rica- Joel Campbell (Arsenal) and Bryan Ruiz (Sporting CP) lead the Costa Rican attack, however their top goal scorer in this recent World Cup stage is centerback Francisco Calvo (MNUFC), so not the most potent.
Canada – Tosaint Ricketts and 16 year-old Alphonso Davies lead the Canadian attack. Davies wasn’t even alive the one and only time the Canadians won the tournament. So, there’s that!
French Guiana – There is only one, Florent Malouda, former Chelsea and French International winger. They will probably not score any goals.
Honduras – A large swath of the midfield and defense hail from the Honudras national league. Oscar Boniek Garcia, Romell Quioto, and Alberth Elis are the three attacking options from the Houston front line that the Catrachos will be relying on to score goals, and a lot of them.
What’s the best game to watch?
Honduras v Costa Rica – The winner of this match should easily win the group. Costa Rica is going to want to establish their dominance early, but the Catrachos have a stout defense and are fully comfortable hunkering down and trying to win a smash and grab type game.
So how will it play out?
Costa Rica and Honduras qualify 1-2 in that order. Canada finishes 3rd and gets a spot in the knockout round for the first time since 2009.