After the final Group C matches our quarterfinals were set. None of the favorites appeared to play all that well in the group stage; however, each team is allowed to swap out six players so we should have slightly newer looking squads, at least for the big guns!
One note is that in the quarterfinals and semifinals if the matches are tied after 90 minutes (plus stoppage time) they go straight to a penalty shootout, skipping the traditional 30 minutes of extra time. In the final 30 minutes of extra time is played before penalties (each team is given one additional sub, as well).
July 19: Costa Rica vs. Panama – Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia – 6:00 PM ET (Match 19) – Costa Rica won Group A while Panama finished behind the US in Group B. This has the potential to be the best quarterfinals match. Johan Venegas was sent back to Minnesota due to injury, so those looking for the Loon connection should just look in a TCF ice bath. This should be a low scoring game as each team pokes and prods to figure each other out and hope there is a quick counter. Costa Rica wins 2-1
July 19: United States vs. El Salvador – Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia – 9:00 PM ET (Match 20) – The US decided to bring in MLS and national team stalwarts like Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Tim Howard. El Salvador doesn’t appear to be bringing in any additional help. El Salvador scored in all three matches including a 1-1 draw with Jamaica in which they led for some time. El Salvador will definitely sit back and hope to strike on the counter while keeping a very tight defensive shape. The question is can the US breakdown that bus and score more than one goal. United States wins 3-1
July 20 Jamaica vs. Canada – University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale – 7:30 PM ET (Match 22) – Canada has the most time off between the group stage and the quarterfinals, plus they bring in a rested Cyle Larin to complement 16-year old wunderkind (and co-lead goal scorer) Alphonso Davies. The Reggae Boyz got a late equalizer to avoid a match with the US. I wouldn’t expect Jamaica to make a run to the final this year, however. Canada wins 1-0
July 20: Mexico vs. Honduras – University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale – 10:30 PM ET (Match 21) – Honduras made it to the quarterfinals without scoring a single goal, which to be fair is a pretty impressive feat. Of course they got a win courtesy of French Guiana. (I don’t want to say match-fixing, but…) Honduras features an attacking corps almost exclusively made up of Houston Dynamo players, somehow, so Minnesota United should benefit from Honduras pushing through to this stage. Mexico’s second string side topped Group C but could only manage a 0-0 draw with Jamaica. Mexico wins 2-0
Semifinals (Our Predictions)
July 22: Winner Match 19 vs. Winner Match 20 – AT&T Stadium, Arlington – 9:30 PM ET (Match 23) Costa Rica v United States – USA wins 1-1 (PKs)
July 23: Winner Match 21 vs. Winner Match 22 – Rose Bowl, Pasadena – 8:30 PM ET (Match 24) Mexico v Canada – Mexico wins 3-2
Final (Our Predictions)
July 26: Winner Match 23 vs. Winner Match 24 – Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara – 9:30 PM ET USA v Mexico – Mexico wins 2-2 (PKs)
Who you got?