Copa America Centenario is finally here. After what has felt like years of talking about this mini-World Cup type tournament on US soil, the time has come for this sucker to kick off tonight with the United States hosting Colombia in possible one of the biggest group games of the tournament.
Since the Dallas area isn't hosting any games in this tournament, we thought we would put together a handy little guide to the tournament from a Dallas perspective, along with some resources to use throughout the tournament.
A look at United States (FIFA rankings 31, ELO 29):
If you ask the simulator, the US are barely the 3rd most touted team in the toughest group in Copa America. Factor in home field advantage (they should have that edge), and the prospects of advancing look like a coin flip (even if Bovada has them 4th on odds).
After slumping to a perceived new low with a 2-0 loss in Guatemala, the US has rattled off 4 straight wins by a combined scoreline of 12-1. While none of their foes were particularly daunting (Ecuador with an ELO of 14 was tops), the US was dominant for long stretches in each match. In particular, Jurgen Klinsmann looks like he hit on a winning formula for the last half of the Ecuador game that carried over to the entirety of the last match against Bolivia.
A lot has been made of Michael Bradley being fielded as a true defensive midfielder (wait for it...a #6), and it is true that playing him a deeper position definitely leverages some of his classier attributes as a strong, bald player man. Perhaps more importantly, it frees up a spot in the midfield for a more artful possessor of the ball.
Whether that is Darlington Nagbe or Alejandro Bedoya, the end result is greater balance and greater ability to keep possession (dare we dream of 'proactive' style), and it's pretty easy on the eye. Will Klinsmann trust the recent outings in selecting his XI for Colombia, or will he bow to more conservative tendencies when lining up against a high octane CONMEBOL foe?
vs. Colombia (FIFA 3, ELO 5): June 3rd 8:30 pm CT, Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
vs. Costa Rica (FIFA 23, ELO 20): June 7th 7:00 pm CT, Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
vs. Paraguay (FIFA 44, ELO 32): June 11th 6:00 pm CT, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Teams with FC Dallas players:
Ecuador (Carlos Gruezo) - FIFA Ranking - 12:
Ecuador is one of two South American teams to have never won a Copa America title. It seems crazy to think that Ecuador is as high in the FIFA rankings as they are but they're also still behind the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Chile and Uruguay.
Gruezo and Ecuador are situated in a pretty tough group with favorites Brazil leading the pack. To end their massive history of disappointment, they'll have to fight it out with Peru and CONCACAF up-and-comers Haiti.
vs Brazil: June 4th 8:00 pm CT, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
vs Peru: June 8th 9:00 pm CT, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
vs Haiti: June 12th 5:30 pm CT, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Copa América Centenario fun facts
- 1st Copa played outside of South America
- 1st Copa matches played in domed stadiums
- 1st Copa played across 4 time zones
- 1st Copa America for Haitian and Panamanian National Teams
5 greatest CONMEBOL players who never won the Copa América
- Diego Maradona
- Lionel Messi
- Rene Higuita
The master of the unpredictable: