MIAMI, Florida – One year ago on Monday the 15th edition of the Concacaf Gold Cup kicked off to mark the beginning of what turned out to be an unforgettable tournament that concluded on July 7 as Mexico defeated the United States 1-0 in front of a sold-out Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
The 2019 Gold Cup was a historical one in many ways, first beginning with the expanded field, as the tournament was increased from 12 teams to 16 teams.
The tournament kicked off in the Rose Bowl of Pasadena, California, a stadium that has seen its fair share of dramatic Gold Cup affairs, with Canada defeating Martinique 4-0 in the opener, followed by a 7-0 triumph for Mexico against Cuba to begin the action in Group A.
The 2019 edition was also the first one to have taken place in both the Caribbean and Central America. Group B involving Costa Rica, Haiti, Bermuda and Nicaragua got its start at the Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, while Group C with Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador and Curacao got the ball rolling at Kingston’s famed Independence Park.
There were plenty of Gold Cup debutants in the fold as well. By virtue of their top-10 finishes in 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, both Bermuda and Guyana punched their tickets to a first ever Gold Cup. The two sides left the tournament with their heads held high, as Bermuda secured a group stage win versus Nicaragua, while Guyana recorded a first ever Gold Cup point in a draw with Trinidad and Tobago.
If there was one hallmark of the 2019 Gold Cup, it was the rise of the Caribbean football, with three of the eight quarterfinalists hailing from the region. Of those three, Haiti and Jamaica would advance to the semifinal stage, with Haiti rallying from a two-goal deficit to defeat Canada 3-2, while Jamaica edged Panama 1-0.
After strong performances in the group stage, multiple-time Gold Cup winners Mexico and United States found the going tough in the knockout round, with El Tricolor narrowly defeating Costa Rica in penalties, while the U.S. fended off a valiant fight from Curacao.
For Haiti, it was a first ever Gold Cup semifinal and they nearly foiled Mexico’s championship hopes, losing by the smallest of margins, 1-0 in extra time. Meanwhile, Jamaica was in the Gold Cup semifinals for the third straight time and was looking to repeat their 2015 Gold Cup semifinal win over the U.S., however this time the U.S. would emerge victorious, setting the stage for a Final between the Gold Cup’s two most decorated teams.
In the end, a Jonathan dos Santos goal in the second half would provide decisive for El Tricolor, earning Mexico a record eighth Gold Cup title to cap a tournament to remember.