Concacaf Gold Cup

Concacaf today announced the roster changes made by the participating Member Associations for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup, with six teams making changes, with the teams making changes not including Bermuda or any of the teams we are set to play against.

In accordance with the Competition Regulations, injury related changes are allowed to the final 23-player rosters for the Group Stage until 24 hours before each team’s first match. Any replacements must come from the preliminary 40-player rosters and must be approved by Concacaf.

The 23-player final rosters have been selected and submitted by each Participating Member Associations and are published as such. In order to be eligible to play in the Concacaf Gold Cup, all players are subject to and must fully comply with the criteria stipulated in the applicable FIFA and Gold Cup player eligibility regulations.

The 2019 edition of the Concacaf Gold Cup opens on Saturday and the first match will feature Seattle Sounders midfielder Jordy Delem, as Martinique face off against Canada. The Canadians are considered one of the dark horses of the tournament and appear to have one of the strongest they’ve ever had.

Among the Canada roster are 12 MLSers and two more who used to play here — Alphonso Davies and Cyle Larin.

Martinique, on the other hand, has just six players who play on teams outside of their domestic league. Delem is the only one of those who plays for a top division team outside of Martinique, with the others playing in Spain’s Segunda Division and France’s Ligue 2.

The second match will feature heavy favorites Mexico playing Cuba. Mexico is missing a few of their best players — most notably Carlos Vela, who turned down the call — but should have no problem at all with Cuba.

The Gombey Warriors will take on Haiti on June 16th in Costa Rica, then Costa Rica on June 20th in Dallas, and then match up against Nicaragua on June 24th in New Jersey, and in an effort to provide comprehensive coverage of Bermuda’s debut in this highly prestigious regional competition,

Bernews has a dedicated reporter traveling with the team in order to bring all the latest action and insights, with the special coverage thanks to the support of Butterfield & Vallis, One Communications, and Bermuda Security Group.

If you want additional coverage, please feel free to join Bernews new Sports Facebook group, where our traveling reporter is providing daily updates and some ‘behind the scenes’ coverage.

Costa Rica are understandable favourites in the group given some of the familiar names in their ranks. Former Arsenal forward Joel Campbell helps provide a creative spark, while the 33-year-old Bryan Ruiz is still a major threat up top.

Meanwhile, oddsmakers are tipping Haiti to make a winning start, but Bermuda won’t be pushovers thanks to the presence of the lively Nahki Wells in attack.

Campbell and Ruiz have dovetailed superbly at international level for years, and it’s a pattern set to continue against Nicaragua. Expect Ruiz’s astute vision and wand of a left foot to thread passes to put Campbell in behind a struggling defence.

Nicaragua’s preparation for the tournament was the stuff of nightmares, as they were hammered 5-1 by Lionel Messi and Argentina on June 7. It wasn’t the confidence boost needed ahead of facing an experienced and capable side.

If there’s a weakness Nicaragua might exploit, it’s in the Costa Rica defence. Los Ticos will be without the luxury of having Real Madrid star Keylor Navas in goal after the 32-year-old opted out of the tournament for the third time in a row and fourth overall since 2011.

Unfortunately, Nicaragua don’t have the match-winners up top to take advantage, so Costa Rica should saunter to a comfortable win.