This one means the least. Both teams have already secured passage to the next stage. At stake: First place in Group C of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The Americans need a victory or draw to clinch the top slot and set up a quarterfinal against probably Martinique on Sunday in Baltimore. A loss would relegate them to second and a knockout match against Group B winner Honduras on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Coverage tonight begins at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Soccer and UniMas, as well as foxsoccer2go.com, univisiondeportes.com. Belize and Cuba will kick off at 5:30.
There is a reasonable expectation the Americans and Ticos will collide in the semifinals next Wednesday at Cowboys Stadium. And the sides are set for a World Cup qualifier Sept. 6 at National Stadium in San Jose. The USSF has confirmed kickoff time for the Costa Rica visit (6 p.m. local, 8 p.m. ET) and TV coverage (beIN Sport, which owns rights to all U.S. away qualifiers, except the Mexico City visit).
One Gold Cup quarterfinal is locked into place:
Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday night at Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
T&T upset Honduras, 2-0, last night in Houston to claim second place in Group B. El Salvador’s 1-0 victory over Haiti secured a third-place position in the next stage (it appears ES will play Panama in the quarters) and eliminated the Haitians.
*D.C. United declined to offer contracts to Guatemalan trialists Jaime Vides and Cristian Noriega (both defenders). Vides is now working out with Colorado. Sheriff Suma, a left wing for the Sierra Leone national team, will begin a trial with United this week.
*Fact of the day: The Washington Spirit (1-10-4) has gone 816 minutes without a goal in the run of play (two penalty kicks). United (2-13-4) has gone 744 minutes (in league play) without a goal in the run of play (two penalty kicks). Combined: 1,560 minutes, or 26 consecutive hours of soccer, without a goal in the run of play for Washington’s pro teams.
Both clubs visit the Chicago area (Red Stars and Fire) on Saturday night.
*Coming soon to a bookstore (a what?) or e-book near you:
The book charts the story of the National Professional Soccer League and the United Soccer Association’s “creation and demise and recalls the experiences of its participants … memories of the capers, the gimmicks, the celebrity brushes and the games that combined to provide them with the trip of a lifetime.”