As CONCACAF competitions tend to be, the Gold Cup group stage was a strange little rodeo:
French Guiana fielded an ineligible player, knowing full well it would forfeit the match (and subsequently get hit by sanctions).
Honduras advanced despite failing to score; it’s three “goals” were awarded through French Guiana’s forfeit.
The United States relinquished a two-goal lead in the second half to lightly regarded Martinique, but won anyway.
Mexico labored to put aside Curacao.
The tournament’s leading scorers with three goals apiece were a 16-year-old Canadian (Vancouver Whitecaps forward Alphonso Davies) and a Martinican who was briefly a Seattle Sounder (Kevin Parsemain).
The U.S. matches (Nashville, Tampa, Cleveland) drew an average of 32,975. Mexico’s games (San Diego, Denver, San Antonio) attracted 48,829. Well, that’s not so strange.
And now it’s onto the quarterfinals …
(All times are Eastern)
Wednesday in Philadelphia
Costa Rica vs. Panama, 6 p.m. (FS1, UniMas)
United States vs. El Salvador, 9 p.m. (FS1, UniMas)
Thursday in Glendale, Ariz.
Jamaica vs. Canada, 7:30 p.m. (FS1, Univision)
Mexico vs. Honduras, 10:30 p.m. (FS1, Univision)
The Philadelphia winners will meet in Saturday’s semifinal in Arlington, Tex. The Glendale winners will play Sunday in Pasadena, Calif. The final is next Wednesday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
>> If the quarterfinals and semifinals are tied after 90 minutes, the match will proceed directly to penalty kicks. The final will, if necessary, utilize 30 minutes of extra time before turning to penalties. Teams are afforded one additional sub during extra time.
>> The United States boasts a 16-match unbeaten streak against El Salvador since 1993 (13-0-3). Four years ago, the Americans rolled to a 5-1 victory in a Gold Cup quarterfinal in Baltimore.
>> As you know by now, the United States made the maximum six roster changes after group play. Meantime, Canada added Orlando City forward Cyle Larin, whose legal problems sidetracked him for a while. He replaces Toronto FC’s Raheem Edwards.
Costa Rica made four moves:
Jose Leiton (Herediano), Jhamir Ordain (Herediano), Jimmy Marin (Herediano) and Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps) are in. Joel Campbell (Arsenal FC), Christian Gamboa (Celtic), Bryan Oviedo (Sunderland) and Johan Venegas (Minnesota United) are out.
Campbell suffered a knee injury and will miss up to six months, ruling him out of the remaining World Cup qualifiers. Venegas was injured in the first half of the group opener vs. Honduras and replaced by Campbell, who went down in the first half of the second match vs. Canada.
>> Americans abroad:
In Denmark, U.S. midfielder Perry Kitchen made his Randers debut, logging 90 minutes in a 0-0 draw at Sonderjyske. Kitchen fell out of favor at Scottish club Hearts after 1 1/2 seasons and moved on a free transfer.
Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund are in Guangzhou, China, to face AC Milan on Tuesday. ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN and ESPN3.com will provide coverage, beginning at 7:15 a.m. ET. Pulisic played 45 minutes in each of the first two preseason matches, against Germany’s Rot-Weiss Essen and Japan’s Urawa Reds.
Timmy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt will cap their three-match U.S. tour tonight by visiting the Columbus Crew. The German side drew at Seattle, 1-1, and lost at San Jose, 4-1.
>> In preparation for additional summer roster moves, D.C. United acquired $50,000 in general allocation money from Columbus for an international roster slot through the end of this season. United still has two slots available. D.C. also formally announced Jose Guillermo Ortiz’s departure from the club.
>> Real Salt Lake will welcome Manchester United to Rio Tinto Stadium tonight (10 p.m., ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN3.com). At the start of a five-match U.S. tour Saturday, United thumped the Los Angeles Galaxy, 5-2.
>> The Houston Dynamo signed Argentine midfielder Tomas Martínez, 22, as a young designated player on a full transfer from Braga in the Portuguese top flight.
>> Sometime this week, Jill Ellis will unveil her U.S. women’s squad for the Tournament of Nations, July 27-Aug. 3 in Seattle, San Diego and Carson, Calif. The other participants are Australia, Brazil and Japan.
>> NWSL announced attendance Saturday:
Portland 16,804 (Thorns averaging about 16,500; league average is about 5,200)
Sky Blue (N.J) 2,529
Home teams this week: Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Seattle and Portland.