Gold Cup: USMNT playing like favorites, but won't accept the tag

ARLINGTON, Texas - The US men’s national team’s 3-1 victory over Honduras in Gold Cup semifinal at Cowboys Stadium extended their current winning streak to ten games and continued the team’s recent trend of dominating performances. But does this make them the favorite in Sunday’s final at Soldier Field in Chicago?

Absolutely, according to Honduran coach Luis Fernando Suárez.

“The football that the United States has played to this point proves that they are the favorite, it makes them the favorite, it backs them as a candidate to win the title,” Suárez told reporters through an interpreter. “After five games, though, the United States has proved to be the most complete team in the group and it certainly makes them a good bet to take home the title.”

Just before virtually awarding the US trophy, though, Suárez cheekily added, “But sometimes football can be unfair.”

USMNT head man Jurgen Klinsmann was much more subdued when assessing his team’s chances against either Panama or Mexico, who face each other in the Wedneseday evening nightcap.

“I think there’s no reason to be overconfident because it’s going to be a nail-biter, it’s going to be very, very tough and we’re all prepared for that,” Klinsmann said. 

“I think the team can be proud of what they did so far in the tournament, the type of football that they’ve showed, the tempo that they’ve played. Attacking football for the fans, all the fans that were in the stadium I think enjoyed that. We know that if it’s Panama or if it’s Mexico, it’s going to be very very difficult. But we are ready for it, we are very hungry for the Gold Cup. ”

Clarence Goodson shrugged off the question and said it doesn’t really matter who is considered the favorite because it’s a one-off and anything can happen.

“You gotta show up and you’ve got to play football on that day and no excuses from anyone," the San Jose Earthquakes defender explained. "It doesn’t matter if you’re the best or the worst or whatever, you’re in the final for a reason.”

Captain DaMarcus Beasley doesn’t think they should be considered the favorites in spite of their recent form as regardless of which team they face in the final, they know the crowd will probably lean towards them. But if they do win, then it’s time to start re-assessing who is king of the CONCACAF hill.

“We have to win [the Gold Cup] first. If we can win on Sunday and get first place in qualifying, there’s no doubt about it that we’ll be [the team to beat].”