The Gold Cup knockout rounds are upon us.
1. Honduras-Costa Rica
3. El Salvador-Panama
In the semis, we'll get the winners of 1-2 and 3-4, which could mean a Mexico-USA final.
What a shock.
When the games aren't being played, I can't help but focus on the structure of the tournament itself. And this tournament is set up to get a Mexico-USA final. Now, I don't know enough about Copa America and I don't know if Copa America is set up in a way that Brazil and Argentina can only meet in the final. I have no idea, but I do believe they have an actual draw, and that tournament is not played in the same country every time out.
The Gold Cup isn't just structured to get a Mexico-USA final. Each team is given every opportunity to get there.
If Mexico gets to the final, every game will have been played before tens of thousands of Mexican supporters.
The US has the comforts of playing at home.
So, you have two home teams and the rest of the region has to adjust to them.
Now, maybe you think that's just too bad considering Mexico and the US are the two best footballing nations in CONCACAF and there is a wide gap between them and the rest of the field and that's life, deal with it. Fine, but I do think CONCACAF is harming the growth of the sport in the area by putting money first.
This tournament would be great if it were a real tournament, with different countries hosting it. Mexico could host it, not just co-host it, but actually host it. Games in Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey would be fun. Maybe throw in Cancun for kicks, to entice fans to head down there for games. I've been to Trinidad & Tobago, they have stadiums that were built for the U-17 World Championship in 2001 that could serve as host stadiums. I'm sure there are enough stadiums in Honduras and Costa Rica that could play host to Gold Cup games.
This is all fantasy though. The Gold Cup will always be played A) in the United States B) and in such a way that allows for Mexico to play before sold-out crowds.
As long as 60,000 or 70,000 or 80,000 fans come out to watch Mexico play in American cities, the structure of the Gold Cup will never change.
And if that means the growth of Costa Rican or Honduran football is stunted, so be it.