Previewing the Gold Cup semifinals

June, 22, 2011

All four Gold Cup quarterfinals went according to Soccer Power Index projections, as heavy favorites Mexico and United States won in regulation, while narrow favorites Honduras and Panama both needed penalty kicks to advance. Both Gold Cup semifinals are tonight at Reliant Stadium in Houston, with berths in Sunday's final at the Rose Bowl at stake.

• After a shocking 2-1 loss to Panama in the group stage, the United States gets a rematch in the first semifinal. This is the fourth straight Gold Cup that the two sides have met in the knockout stage. USA has advanced in all three previous meetings, winning 2-1 in the quarterfinals of the last two tournaments and taking the title on penalty kicks in 2005. That final was the only previous time that Panama reached the final.

• According to the Soccer Power Index, Panama had a nine percent chance of beating the United States in the group stage. This time, USA is an 85.7 percent favorite to advance to its fourth straight final.

• Defending champion Mexico, seeking its third straight final appearance, faces a Honduras team that hasn't reached the title game since losing to the United States in the inaugural Gold Cup Final in 1991. Los Catrachos have had success recently against Mexico, winning two of their last three meetings, though both victories were at home. Honduras also won the most recent neutral-site match between the two sides, a 2-1 triumph at Giants Stadium in the 2007 Gold Cup group stage.

• Javier Hernandez scored his sixth goal of the tournament in the quarters against Guatemala. He now has the second-most goals ever in a single Gold Cup, trailing only countryman Luis Roberto Alves, who had 11 in 1993. Chicharito is also one goal shy of tying Jared Borgetti for second on Mexico's all-time Gold Cup scoring list.

• SPI rates Mexico a 71.3 percent favorite to reach the final. Despite lower odds of getting to the final than the United States, Mexico is still considered the tournament favorite, winning in half of the computer simulations. The United States has the second-highest odds at 37.1 percent, meaning USA and Mexico have a combined 90 percent chance to win the Gold Cup, up from 76.6 percent before the tournament.



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