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2019 Gold Cup Group C Primers, Previews, and TV Schedule - Curacao, El Salvador, Honduras, Jamaica

Enough with the blowouts, let’s hope Group C and Curacao can bring some chaos to the 2019 Gold Cup.

Soccer: 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup-Jamaica at El Salvador Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

If Group D of this 2019 Gold Cup is the Group of Death, than I’m naming Group the Group of Chaos.

Group C features four teams within 25 FIFA Rankings points of each other (if you believe such metrics), three Top 10 CONCACAF teams (also based on a separate CONCACAF based rankings or something), the two time defending runner up (Jamaica), two consistent knockout stage teams (El Salvador and Honduras), and my favorite darkhorse team (Curacao).

Curacao had the best overall Nations League qualification campaign of the group thanks to goal difference, while El Salvador was the last team into the tournament thanks to beating Jamaica on the last day. Honduras might be the seeded team of the group, but Jamaica has home field advantage.

Anything can happen in this group it seems, and after a couple of days of blowouts, it would be nice to see some chaos and unpredictability in the Gold Cup. If you like such things, root for Curacao and even El Salvador, it would have been strange to see Los Cuscatlecos possibly miss out on the Gold Cup with the new qualification format.

TV SCHEDULE

Monday, June 17

7 p.m.: Curaçao vs. El Salvador at Independence Park National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica

Fox Sports 1, Univision Deportes

9:30 p.m.: Jamaica vs. Honduras at Independence Park National Stadium, Kingston, Jamaica

Fox Sports 1, UniMás, and Univision Deportes

Friday, June 21

7 p.m.: El Salvador vs. Jamaica at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston

Fox Sports 1, Univision Deportes

9:30 p.m.: Honduras vs. Curaçao at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston

Fox Sports 2, UniMás, and Univision Deportes

Tuesday, June 25

8 p.m.: Jamaica vs. Curaçao at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

Fox Sports 2, UniMás, and Univision Deportes

10:30 p.m.: Honduras vs. El Salvador C at Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles

Fox Sports 2, UniMás, and Univision Deportes

TEAM PREVIEWS

CURACAO [CUW/C4]

Head Coach: Remko Bicentini (NED/CUW)

FIFA Ranking: 79

Qualification: Nations League 4th Place

Appearance: 2nd / Best Finish: Group Stage (2017)

Roster Breakdown: 15 Domestic/Netherlands, 2 England, 1 Wales, 1 Cyprus, 1 USA, 1 Saudi Arabia, 1 Belgium, 1 Portugal

Player To Watch: MID Leandro Bacuna, Cardiff City (WAL), 20 Int’l Appearances, 12 Goals - Curacao is just starting make a name for itself in CONCACAF, but Bacuna has extensive experience in England, including over 100 games with Aston Villa.

Tournament Outlook

Curacao might be the minnows of this group, but in the past few years they’ve drawn a match at home to El Salvador and beat Martinique and Jamaica enroute to claiming the Caribbean Cup title. Yes, they were skunked in the last Gold Cup for three losses and no goals scored, but they only gave up six total goals in those three group loses to Mexico, El Salvador, and Jamaica. This is a team wasn’t isn’t far away two years ago and I liked them as a darkhorse then too, and I still do.

EL SALVADOR [SLV/

Head Coach: Carlos de los Cobos (MEX)

FIFA Ranking: 69

Nickname: Los Cuscatlecos

Qualification: Nations League 10th Place

Appearance: 11th / Best Finish: Quarterfinals (02, 03, 11, 13, 17)

Roster Breakdown: 17 Domestic, 3 USA, 1 Paraguay, 1 Guatemala, 1 Thailand

Player To Watch: MID Darwin Ceren, Houston Dynamo (USA), 43 International Appearances, 2 Goals - The Dynamo holding midfielder and Salvadorean captain will be tasked with holding everything together. This isn’t a team that scores a ton, so they’re going to need their defense to lead the way and be opportunistic on the other end.

Tournament Outlook

El Salvador are models of consistency. They don’t blowout teams or score goals in bunches. But they’re always there, they’re always a pain in the you know what, and they usually make the quarterfinals. I have doubts as to where the goals will come from, but it might not matter: in four wins this year against Guatemala, Peru, Haiti, and Jamaica, Los Cuscatlecos scored eight goals and allowed just one. That is a recipe for success.

HONDURAS [HON/C1]

Head Coach: Fabian Coito (URU)

FIFA Ranking: 61

Nickname: Los Catrachos

Qualification: The Hex, 4th Place

Appearance: 14th/ Best Finish: Runners up (1991)

Roster Breakdown: 8 Domestic, 5 USA/MLS, 5 Costa Rica, 3 Mexico, 1 Scotland, 1 Spain

Players To Watch: FWDs Romell Quioto and Alberth Ellis, Houston Dynamo (USA), Combined 79 Appearances, 15 Goals - Yes, let the Honduras Dynamo references begin, but these two are pretty legit and if they start finding the back of the net, Honduras is going to be a threat for the knockout stages.

Tournament Outlook

My only worry for Honduras here is that they simply haven’t played enough matches since losing to Australia in the World Cup Playoff. El Salvador beat them in Houston in a friendly last year, and they have three matches played in 2019, including a 7-0 thumping to Brazil a week ago. If this team is rusty, it’s going to show, and they could be in for a quick exit. But at the same time, this is a team that knows how to grind out results too and why this group could be pure chaos.

JAMAICA [JAM/C2]

Head Coach: Theodore Whitmore (JAM)

FIFA Ranking: 54

Nickname: Reggae Boyz

Qualification: Nations League 8th Place

Appearance: 11th / Best Finish: Runners up (2015, 2017)

Roster Breakdown: 4 Domestic, 13 USA, 1 Sweden, 1 England, 1 Norway, 1 Germany, 1 Turkey, 1 Slovenia

Player To Watch: GK Andre Blake, Philadelphia Union, 33 Int’l Appearances - The former UConn Husky and #1 overall MLS Draft pick and one of the best keepers in the region. Jamaica has him, and everyone else doesn’t and that’s not good for everyone else.

Tournament Outlook

Jamaica are the group favorites by default because they’ve made two consecutive finals, they’ve got a home game, and that pre-tournament friendly win over the USMNT is sure to boost their confidence. But this team is beatable and will spend the fall in one of the Nations League “B” groups thanks to a last match defeat to El Salvador in qualifying. If this team is the threat they want to be in this tournament, they have to prove it right way tonight, as they start the Gold Cup at home against Honduras.

GROUP OVERVIEW

I have no idea what is going to happen in this group. It’s too balanced in my opinion to have a clear cut favorite, even for Jamaica or Honduras. This could be one of those groups where someone with two draws advances on goal difference somehow. I don’t see anyone running away with the group and could see any combination of two teams advancing, including Curacao if they can carry over their solid Nations League form. More than likely however, is that two of Jamaica, Honduras, and El Salvador slog it out and reach the quarters.

PREDICTIONS

No predictions, root for chaos.