When we last left the power rankings, I was hopeful that the quarterfinals and knockout rounds would provide some better soccer or at the very least more drama to prop up a dismal group stage.
For the most part, it did not. While the knockout stages improved considerably (it couldn’t the overall feeling of the Gold Cup did not change much. The games were largely drab affairs from an offensive standpoint lacking in creativity and did more to highlight the “B” teams sent by the United States and Mexico in particular.
We did however get a certain amount of drama and that’s mostly thanks to Jamaica, who deserved better in this tournament and they still got to the final. Andre Blake’s first half injury put a tremendous damper on a brilliant tournament for the Reggae Boyz though Jordan Morris’ late stunner for the title certainly qualifies as a dramatic finish.
But even Jamaica’s run could not hide the fact that this was a poor tournament overall. Mexico sent a “B” team that struggled to score for long stretches, Costa Rica seemed largely disinterested and focused on World Cup qualifying and none of the smaller nations were able to step up and pull off any upsets.
Two of the more memorable moments from this tournament were not exactly positive moments for the sport. French Guiana sabotaging their campaign (and also Martinique’s) by playing Florent Malouda and the unsporting display from El Salvador against the US in the quarterfinals will be remembered over most of the highlights of Alphonso Davies or Darren Mattocks that happened on the field.
However, we still have a final rankings list to figure out. We posted one after the group stage and now that the tournament is over, the final power rankings list for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
1. [LW t4] United States (5W-0L-1D, 1st Place Group B, Champions, 2-1 W vs JAM)
They won it all but that shouldn’t be a surprise with the reinforcements they brought in after the group stage. They mostly walked through the group stage but then battled their way against better teams in the knockout stages to claim their sixth Gold Cup title.
2.  Jamaica (3-1-2, 2nd Place Group C, Runner-up, L 1-2 vs USA)
They did everything but win the tournament for a second straight year. Andre Blake deserved better than to leave the final with a laceration on his hand, Darren Mattocks deserved to be on the all-tournament team and if Je-Vaughn Watson never plays another game for the Reggae Boyz...well, an equalizing goal in a Gold Cup final isn’t a bad way to go out.
Jamaica’s tournament should be the blueprint for other CONCACAF teams looking to make the jump from a minnow or middling team. Play good defense, be organized all the time, and counter-attack well. That and find an all-world keeper to save just about everything, that helps too. We’ll see this Jamaica team again next cycle I’m sure.
3.  Canada (1-1-2, 2nd Place Group A, Quarterfinals, 1-2 L vs. JAM)
Everyone thought I was overrated Canada two weeks ago, and they were probably right. But they played four really good games in this tournament and that’s probably two better than everyone except Jamaica if we’re being honest. Alphonso Davies had what might be his breakout moment and hopefully this tournament is a legitimate indicator that Canada will be a contender for not just Gold Cup knockout stages, but also games in The Hex next cycle as well.
4.  Mexico (3-1-1, 1st Place Group C, Semifinal, L 0-1 vs. JAM)
I don’t know how to accurately judge Mexico’s performance here. They weren’t bad but also were only really tested by Jamaica who they went 0-1-1 against in two games and didn’t score a goal. In the knockout stages they scored against Honduras in the 4th minute and then didn’t score the rest of the way, a stretch of 176 goal-less minutes. If the goal was to give the fringe national teamers a chance, I’m not sure if anyone really impressed jump up and grab first team minutes. The Confederations Cup was more important to El Tri, and rightly so, but even for a B team I was underwhelmed.
5. [t4] Panama (2-1-1, 2nd Place Group B, Quarterfinals, L 0-1 vs. CRC)
Panama probably should’ve been a semifinalist but they weren’t and that’s okay. They still played a solid tournament and control their own destiny for at least the 4th place playoff spot in The Hex. This is a team that has been built on guys like Blas Perez, Luis Tejada and Jaime Penedo but now a younger generation will have to get them over the hump and into a World Cup. I think this was a positive tournament overall for Panama and something they can build on when qualifiers resume.
6.  Costa Rica (3-1-1, 1st Place Group A, Semifinals, L 0-2 vs. USA)
Yes, I know Costa Rica technically beat Panama in the quarterfinals. However, those were two bad games Tos Ticos played in the knockout stages and a grand total of zero players from Costa Rica scored in their two knockout stage games. The only reason why they advanced past Panama was due to an own goal and I think Panama played the better game that day.
7.  Martinique (1-0-2, 3rd Place Group B, Group Stage)
Kevin Parsemain deserves better and somehow didn’t even make the Gold Cup Tournament Best XI but both Jozy Altidore (3 games played) and Jordan Morris (three goals in more games played) did. This is a travesty, perhaps more of a travesty than Martinique not making the quarters. Someone in the USA give Kevin a contract please.
t8 . Nicaragua (0-0-3, 4th Place Group B, Group Stage)
t8 . Curacao (0-0-3, 4th Place Group C, Group Stage)
Both of these two teams would’ve made better quarter-finalists than Honduras or El Salvador. I don’t care if they both would’ve gotten demolished by three or four goals each, they would’ve tried or at the very least cared to be in the knockout stages. And there would have been less biting surely...
This whole “chalk” thing upsets me, I want to see teams like this in the quarterfinals at least. Perhaps in 2019...
10.  Honduras (1-2-1, 3rd Place Group A, Quarterfinals, L 0-1 vs. MEX)
Jerry Bengtson would scored for Honduras in this tournament. Instead Los Catrachos went scoreless in four games and despite just allowing two goals, somehow will get credit for a win in this competition because of shenanigans. With Honduras needing to make up ground in The Hex, I hope throwing away or sandbagging or whatever it is they did in the off-year Gold Cup was worth it. This team could seriously contend for the title but too often have stretches like this.
11.  El Salvador (1-2-1, 3rd Place Group C, Quarterfinals, L 0-2 vs. USA)
Shame on you El Salvador. You’re better than that. I’m not even that mad about the biting to be honest, but you made Rob Stone say “purple nurple” on air. For crying out loud...
Rob Stone just said "purple nurple" on air on FS1. Welp, the #GoldCup2017 isn't going to top this moment.— Caitlin Murray (@caitlinmurr) July 20, 2017
N/A. French Guiana (0-0-3, 4th Place Group A, Group Stage)
I still can’t give them a ranking, but I assure you they’d be higher on this list if they were eligible to receive one from me. Still mad they submarined Martinque out of the quarterfinals but most of my anger is currently directed at El Salvador at the moment and most of my disappointment is reserved for Honduras. I hope French Guiana return to the Gold Cup soon, take a legit crack at this tournament, perhaps as a full-fledged FIFA member next time.