Gold Cup: Group C Update
Action from the international friendly between Curacao (white jersey) and visiting El Salvador on March 22, 2017, in Willemstad, Curacao. (Photo courtesy of Federashon Futbol Korsou)

MIAMI – With the start of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup slightly more than two weeks away, it’s time for to see where the Group C teams stand heading into the competition..

Before Curacao places its focus completely on the Gold Cup, it first must contest the finals of the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup.  On Thursday, the Curacaoans will face host Martinique in the semifinals on Thursday at the Stade Pierre-Aliker in Fort-de-France.  Three days later, they will take on either French Guiana or Jamaica in the third place match or the final.  In preparation for the two international events, Curacao has played a pair of friendlies, falling to host Canada (1-2) on June 13 and battling visiting Nicaragua to a scoreless draw four days later.

Since earning a third-place finish in January’s Copa Centroamericana to qualify for the Gold Cup, El Salvador has gone winless in three straight matches.  A 1-1 draw with host Curacao in March was followed by a 2-2 draw with Honduras on May 27 and 0-3 setback to Ecuador on June 13 (both matches were played in the USA).  The Salvadoran defense – which allowed only four goals in five Copa Centroamericana matches – will need to tighten up if a third trip to the Gold Cup quarterfinals in four appearances is to happen.

Similar to Curacao, Jamaica will first have to settle 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup matters prior to addressing Gold Cup concerns, meeting French Guiana in the semifinals on Thursday in in Fort-de-France, Martinique.  The defending champion Reggae Boyz will be hoping to overcome that challenge and then face either Curacao or Martinique in the final.  In preparation, Jamaica lost 1-3 at Peru on June 13.  Jermaine Johnson scored the only goal, converting an 86th-minute penalty kick to close out the scoreline.

Playing in three competitions (World Cup Qualifying, FIFA Confederations Cup and CONCACAF Gold Cup) from June through July forced Mexico to make numerous personnel decisions.  As a result, the Tricolor has one side currently contesting the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia and another preparing for the Gold Cup in Mexico City.  Under the guidance of Luis Pompilio Páez, the Gold Cup squad – including five players from recently-crowned Liga MX champion Guadalajara – are training at the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol’s Centro de Alto Rendimiento.  Mexico is scheduled to face Ghana (June 28 in Houston, Texas, USA) and Paraguay (July 1 in Seattle, Washington, USA)