CONCACAF Gold Cup begins this evening with Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and the USA meeting Honduras at 6:30 p.m. PT on Fox Sports 1.
Here is what Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had to say Monday: "Obviously our team and Mexico are probably the two favorites. I know this Gold Cup is important to qualify for the Confederations Cup. I think our chances are good. (Coach Jurgen Klinsmann) brought a strong team; Mexico brought a strong team as well. The competition begins. Honduras is a difficult opponent because physically they’ve got some good strength and size, but I think the U.S. is capable of winning for sure."
Below is extensive pregame information from U.S. Soccer:
U.S. Men's National Team vs. Honduras International Friendly Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas July 7, 2015
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U.S. MNT'S QUEST TO KEEP THE CUP BEGINS IN DALLAS AGAINST HONDURAS: The United States Men's National team's journey to defend its title in the 2015 Gold Cup begins against Honduras on July 7. The game will be played at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. PT and the match will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, UniMás and Univision Deportes Network.
It was just two years ago that the pair squared off in the Gold Cup semifinals in a match that also took place in the Dallas area, at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington. The USA knocked Honduras out of the tournament, winning 3-1 to advance to the final where it would ultimately claim its fifth Gold Cup trophy.
The USA and Honduras have faced off six different times in the Gold Cup and the U.S. is an unbeaten 5-0-1 in those matches. The lone draw came in the first ever tournament in 1991, and while all was level at the end of regulation, the MNT won the tournament in penalty kicks.
The teams have matched up 22 different times in total. The MNT has outscored its Central American opponent 37-21, while going 14-4-4.
U.S. ROSTER NOTES: • Sixteen players on this roster were a part of the MNT's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, marking the highest return rate of players between the two rosters in years where the Gold Cup has followed the FIFA World Cup (1991, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2013).• Six players were a part of the USA team that won the Gold Cup in 2013: Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Mix Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez, Nick Rimando and Chris Wondolowski• The USA has reached the Gold Cup Final in five straight tournaments and six out of the last seven. The team finished in third place in 2003 after losing to a Kaka-led Brazil.• Clint Dempsey (15), Michael Bradley (11) and Beckerman (11) have all played in more than 10 Gold Cup games. Bedoya and Wondolowski are also experienced players on the roster with eight Gold Cup caps each.• Thirteen players on the roster have previously played in the Gold Cup, of which 10 have lifted the trophy• The 23 players on the roster average 30 international appearances with 14 having played in a minimum of 20 matches for the U.S. MNT• The USA has won the Gold Cup five times (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013) and finished as the runner-up four times (1992, 1998, 2009, 2011). The MNT has finished outside of the top four only once (2000).• Dempsey (5), Wondolowski (5), Beckerman, Bradley, and Diskerud, have all scored goals in previous Gold Cups. All five of Wondolowski's goals came in the 2013 Gold Cup, where he tied for the tournament's Golden Boot.• Dempsey is the only two-time winner (2005, 2007) and the only three-time participant.• Nine different players from this roster have scored for the USA in 2015: Jozy Altidore, Bradley, John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, Dempsey, Diskerud, Aron Johannsson, Chris Wondolowski and Gyasi Zardes.• Michael Bradley will captain the MNT for the USA's run in the Gold Cup. Bradley has started as the team's captain in six straight matches.• Brad Evans assisted on the game-winning goal in the team's win over the reigning World Cup champion• Tim Ream has earned honors as the Bolton Wanderers Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons• Against Netherlands on June 5, Brad Guzan made his first appearance since he played against Colombia on Nov. 14, 2014. It was his first start of 2015. Also picking up wins against Germany and Guatemala, Guzan is a perfect 3-0-0 in 2015.• Fabian Johnson helped lift Borussia Mönchengladbach to a third-place finish in the Bundesliga that earned the club a spot in the 2016 UEFA Champions League group stage. The German side went 10-0-2 with Johnson in the starting lineup this season.• Johannsson recorded four goals in his final three matches as AZ Alkmaar snatched the third spot in the Dutch Eredivisie and a place in the 2016 UEFA Europa League.• Alfredo Morales played a key role in FC Ingolstadt securing first place in the second division in Germany and subsequent promotion to the Bundesliga.• Bradley has played every minute of the USA's seven matches so far in 2015. In addition to Bradley, two other MNT players have appeared in all seven games this year: Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin.• Graham Zusi was both part of the team that represented the U.S. in the World Cup last summer and made his first appearance of 2015 in the match against Guatemala• William Yarbrough, 26, was born and raised in Mexico to two American parents. He has marshaled the backline for Club Leon to the 2013 Apertura and 2014 Clausura titles.• Ventura Alvarado has appeared in six straight matches since making his debut in a U.S. uniform on March 25 against Denmark. Alvarado is a regular starter for the Club America team that captured the CONCACAF Champions League title and a trip to the FIFA Club World Cup. Alvarado has started three of the last four games for the U.S. MNT, in which the team is 4-0-0.• Seven leagues from six countries are represented on the roster: Canada, England, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands and the United States.• Altidore leads the team in points with five in 2015 on two goals and an assist.
USA vs. Honduras: •The teams' last meeting ended in a 1-1 draw in Boca Raton Florida. Jozy Altidore scored the goal for the USA, which was assisted by Michael Bradley. •Since 2002, the MNT has lost to Honduras on U.S. soil only once (11-1-1). •In 2013, prior to the meeting in the Gold Cup, the teams met for a pair CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers. The first took place in February in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where the Central Americans won, 2-1, to take their first home win against the U.S. since 1965. Clint Dempsey put the U.S. ahead early, but after Juan Carlos Garcia leveled in the 40th minute Jerry Bengston followed with a late goal in the 79th to put Honduras over the top. The U.S. responded in the game later that year, winning 1-0 in the Qualifier in the Sandy, Utah. Jozy Altidore netted the game winning goal in that matchup. •This will be the sixth game between the teams during Jurgen Klinsmann's tenure as head coach (3-1-1). •The United States is 14-4-4 all-time against Honduras and is unbeaten in the last three games. •The MNT is 12-0-0 all-time in CONCACAF Gold Cup openers since 1991. •The MNT is 5-0-0 all-time in CONCACAF Gold Cup play in the Dallas metro area. •The team has twice played Honduras in the Gold Cup in the Dallas metro area. •The team used a 29th minute goal from Alexi Lalas to defeat los Catrachos 1-0 in group play on July 17, 1993. •More recently, a brace from Landon Donovan and another goal from Eddie Johnson let the MNT past Honduras 3-1 in the 2013 Gold Cup semifinals. Current U.S. player Alejandro Bedoya assisted on the second and third goals in the 3-1 win.•The MNT is 5-0-1 all-time against Honduras in CONCACAF Gold Cup play.•Fourteen years to the day of Tuesday's Gold Cup opener, the U.S. and Honduras faced off in the Gold Cup Final in 1991. After played to a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes, Fernando Clavijo scored what would be the winning spot kick as the U.S. defeated Honduras 4-3 on penalties to lift the inaugural Gold Cup title.
Last time out: The USA completed its Gold Cup preparations with a 4-0 win against Guatemala on July 3 in front of a state-record crowd of 44,835 fans in Nashville, Tennessee.
•Brad Guzan earned his 10th career shutout•Timmy Chandler scored his first international goal, Clint Dempsey tallied his 41st and Chris Wondolowski scored his 10th
IN FOCUS: Honduras Federación Nacional Autónoma de Fútbol de Honduras Founded: 1935 FIFA Affiliation: 1946 Head Coach: Jorge Luis Pinto FIFA World Ranking: 75 Best World Cup Finish: Never Qualified Leading Cap-Winner: Amado Guevara (138) Leading Goalscorer: Carlos Pavon (57)
Guatemala Roster By Position: GOALKEEPERS (3) : Donis Escober (Olimpia/Honduras); Luis Lopez (Real España/Honduras); Noel Valladares (Olimpia/Honduras) DEFENDERS (8) : Ever Alvarado (Olimpia/Honduras); Brayan Beckeles (Boavista/Portugal); Wilmer Crisanto (Motagua/Honduras); Maynor Figueroa (Unattached); Henry Figueroa (Motagua/Honduras); Bryan Garcia (Vida/Honduras); Johnny Leveron (Marathon/Honduras); Johnny Palacios (Olimpia/Honduras) MIDFIELDERS (8): Bryan Acosta (Real España/Honduras); Jorge Claros (Qingdao Jonoon/China); Carlos Discua (Motagua/Honduras); Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston Dynamo/USA); Mario Martinez (Real España/Honduras); Alfredo Mejia (Panthrakikos FC/Greece); Andy Najar (Anderlecht/Belgium); Romell Quioto (Olimpia/Honduras) FORWARDS (4): Erick Andino (Victoria/Honduras); Rubilio Castillo (Motagua/Honduras); Eddie Hernandez (Motagua/Honduras); Antony Lozano (Olimpia/Honduras)
HONDURAS NOTES: •Six players from the Honduras 2013 Gold Cup roster are a part of this group for 2015 and seven players from its 2014 World Cup team return for this tournament•Honduras is 18-17-6 all-time in the Gold Cup and has gone 2-4-2 in 2015.•Midfielder Andy Najar spent three years in MLS with D.C. United, before moving on to Belgium. The 22-year-old is a starter for Anderlecht and scored a goal against Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League last October.•Jorge Luis Pinto is an experienced manager. This will be his first big tournament at the Honduran helm. Last summer he led Costa Rica to the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This will also be Pinto's first match against the U.S. MNT as coach of Honduras. With Costa Rica his record against the USA was 2-2-0. Pinto earned honors as the CONCACAF coach of the year in 2014• The roster is almost entirely domestic. Seventeen players on the 23 man roster play for Honduras club teams, with six competing for Olimpia•30-year-old Boniek Garcia is the oldest player on the roster and plays in MLS with Houston Dynamo , while 21-year-old Bryan Acosta is the youngest.
On the field against Honduras: October 14, 2014 - FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, Florida - International Friendly
USA 1 Jozy Altidore (Michael Bradley) 10th minute Honduras 1 Maynor Figueroa (Emilio Izaguirre) 86th munute
USA: 22-Nick Rimando; 21-Timmy Chandler, 13-Jermaine Jones, 5-Matt Besler (16-Tim Ream, 64), 14-Greg Garza; 19-Graham Zusi (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 64), 10-Mix Diskerud (9-Miguel Ibarra, 90), 4-Michael Bradley (6-Alfredo Morales, 75), 11-Alejandro Bedoya (15-Joe Corona, 78); 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.) (23-Bobby Wood, 64), 17-Jozy Altidore Subs Not Used: 3-Michael Orozco, 12-Bill Hamid, 18-Chris Wondolowski Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
HON: 22-Donis Escober; 13-Wilmer Crisanto, 3-Maynor Figueroa (capt.), 5-Victor Bernárdez, 7-Emilio Izaguirre; 20-Jorge Claros (23-Edder Delgado, 46), 19-Luis Garrido, 14-Oscar Boniek García (8-Juan Josue Rodríguez, 69), 17-Andy Najar (10-Mario Martínez, 62); 9-Alberth Elis (12-Marvin Chávez, 75), 21-Roger Rojas (11-Romell Quioto, 46) Subs Not Used: 1-Kevin Hernández, 4-Henry Figueroa, 6-Bryan Acosta, 15-Wilfredo Barahona, 16-Javier Portillo Head Coach: Hernan Medford