I don't remember much about the 1991 and 1993 Gold Cups. I followed the 1996 Gold Cup on closed-circuit television and the 1998 edition from the stands. I didn't cover the 2000 Gold Cup either but I wanted to go watch the games at the Coliseum but I never made it out to them. Actually, I was going to go to the final but when it turned out to be Canada-Colombia I went to the movies instead.
It wasn't until the 2002 Gold Cup that I was in the press box. That one was played at the Rose Bowl. It was a good tournament. Lots of games, lots of drama (South Korea over Mexico, US over Canada in PKs). I think that was the last Gold Cup played in the winter.
By 2003, the Gold Cup changed. It was a summer tournament. The games were spread out over the country (as well as some games in Mexico City). And for the first time, Southern California did not host any games. Needless to say, I didn't cover that one.
In 2005, I covered the two matchdays that were held out here. Home Depot Center hosted a doubleheader on a Friday night that featured Mexico-South Africa and Jamaica-Guatemala. Aside from the Galaxy-Real Madrid game, that was the most crowded I've ever seen HDC. It was an absolute zoo. Traffic was horrible and so was parking. As I was walking toward the entrance, the national anthems were being sung. I made it to my seat around the 10th minute or so of the Mexico game. Two days later, Mexico played Guatemala at the Coliseum. There were some 30,000 people there. Had it been held at HDC, there would have been more of the same frenzied atmosphere. Instead, some 62,500 empty seats dwarfed the full ones.
So even though SoCal doesn't get the final, it's nice to have two doubleheader dates and even nicer that they will be played at Home Depot Center.