Soccer Watch

Soccer Watch

U.S. coach Bruce Arena brought a young and untested squad to the 2017 Gold Cup – the biennial championship of North, Central, and Caribbean America – and they didn't look very good in their first game against Panama: a 1-1 draw that could have been far worse but for goalkeeper Brad Guzan's repeated heroics. Sloppy in possession, tentative on defense, the U.S. looked like they hadn't ever played together before. And indeed they hadn't – not this particular mix of young guys, a few regulars, and several others who've been largely passed over by the national team in recent years. So there's a lot of room for improvement as they get more games under their belt as this tournament goes on. Arena usually manages to pull the right strings, and the team is still undefeated in 10 games since he took over in the spring. They're putting that record on the line against Martinique as we go to press Wednesday evening, and if that doesn't sound too challenging, consider that the group finale is Sat., July 15, 6pm against Nicaragua, whom Martinique shut out, 2-0, in the opener. Every game is being shown live on Fox Sports; group games continue daily through Sunday, with the quarterfinals next Wed.-Thu., July 19-20. If they make it that far, the U.S. would play in the first semifinal, at 9pm, Sat., July 22, up the road in Arlington; tickets are still available.

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