FBL-MEXICO-CONCACAF-TROPHY

I honestly don’t know. I promise this is not going to be a classic troll job in which I get high and mighty about which tournaments are legit and which are not because I somehow know better than you, but seriously: what is this thing for?

Yesterday on the Counter Attack Podcast, Sean Keay made a very good case for why winning the Gold Cup would be the worst possible scenario for Canada. I know, I know.

But you can instantly see why: here’s a team with a bunch of Unattached FC stars, some fairly significant absences, and an interim national team coach who is now about an hour away from transforming in front our eyes into a lame duck (Watch it happen LIVE on Sprotsnet 1080). If Canada wins the damn thing (don’t worry, ain’t going to happen), then suddenly the nation convinces itself that all is well, and efforts to reform the national program are ignored and the pressure is off for a while.

If instead they do as expected and do okayish before going out in ignoble fashion, then Canada are further derided as a national embarrassment and the classic, familiar, soul-crushing apathy kicks in. Maybe we go back to the days when the nats play “away games” at BMO Field.

And then there’s the Klassik Kanada option: a spirited, if sloppy, team performance. Some incredible bright lights shine. Will Johnson becomes the tournament’s goal-scoring leader (somehow). Then the team goes out to, oh, I don’t know, the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in the semifinal on the back of some incredibly dodgy calls. Conspiracy theories ensue. Self-loathing comes after that. Annnnd: scene.

And then the final, as it is already engineered, will be a glorified friendly between the US and Mexico. The US will lose, there will be some tepid comparisons to the fall of Bob Bradley and the questionable pedigree of Juergen Klinsmann, and then no one will speak of the 2013 Gold Cup ever again.

I am willing to put money down on ZERO available Getty images on the tournament prior to the final, always the canary in the coal mine for relevance. I’m not saying they should scrap the Gold Cup, but dignity please. We’re in the midst of an MLS summer season, there are, as ever, bigger fish to fry. Something needs to be done.

Comments (8)

  1. This thing is (fundamentally) for making CONCACAF some cash from the large Central American and Mexican ex-pat communities in the United States who get to have a series of community events across the breadth of their new home.

    Otherwise? It’s sorta, kinda more important than a youth tournament I guess?

  2. Remember the Intertoto Cup? More relevant than this.

  3. Its a month where Canada’s national team gets at least three international games. That’s why it is important.

  4. Whittall is absolutely right. After Canada won the GC in … (does anyone remember the year?), the usual closet ‘experts’ emerged. “We are now on the way! Next stop: the WC podium!!”, etc., etc., ad nauseam. And then Soccer Canada (there, folks, lies the REAL problem, one that is irreparable in this benighted country) fired the German coach who got us that fluky trophy. Need more be said?

    • The year was 2000, and while it was an encouraging result, I think people knew it didn’t all of a sudden mean Canada was the best in CONCACAF. If I recall correctly, they needed to win a draw of lots to get out of the group stage, and they rode an incredible goal keeping performance from Craig Forrest.

  5. I have mixed feelings about the Gold Cup. I think it’s important, but I’d really like to see it go to a 4 year cycle, and that would in turn make it easier for MLS to avoid games during the Gold Cup. I think both competitions would gain from that.

    It does provide a path to the Confederations Cup which we just saw is emerging as a more and more relevant tournament. However, this particular iteration of the Gold Cup isn’t that important for Canada. The World Cup drought has gone on way too long and the focus is on the future, present be damned. I’m excited to watch the tournament, but I am more looking for the little things from Canada rather than actual success at the tournament.

    • A four year cycle might be best. As well, why not play it at the end of the MLS season in November? Most of the venues are in warmer climates (in Seattle it doesn’t get that cold in the winter) anyway. The European based players can leave for the tournament in the same fashion the African players leave in winter for the Africa Cup of Nations. Something must be done to make this tournament more relevant and important. At the very least, MLS should shut down for a few weeks to showcase the event. Any other ideas?

      Cheers!

      • IMO, its important because its a money maker and because it allows for a route to the Confederations Cup. I think the only difference people are unimpressed by it is because its always held in the U.S.A. and its not a rotating host tournament.

        Another reason to hate on the Gold Cup. Its only being broadcast on SportsnetWorld, which is a completely useless channel and I wouldnt pay for it.

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