Texas hosts Cup double-header
The 2015 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup gets underway this evening with a Group A double-header at the Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Panama and Haiti will kick off action at 6 p.m., with hosts United States battling Honduras in the 8:30 p.m. feature encounter.
Twelve teams are participating in the North, Central America and Caribbean Confederation's biennial championship, with first-round action on a round-robin basis in three groups.
Jamaica are participating in Group B, alongside joint hosts Canada, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
The Reggae Boyz will bow into action tomorrow evening against Costa Rica at StubHub (formerly Home Depot Centre) at 7 p.m. (9 p.m. Jamaica Time), with Canada and El Salvador kicking off at 9:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. Jamaica time).
Group C includes perennial favourites Mexico, Guatemala, and Caribbean runners-up Trinidad and Tobago, and Cuba. They will bow into action on Thursday.
The top two teams will advance from each group, as well as the two best third-placed teams, to the quarter-finals.
Ahead of the championship's opening matches, the coaches were circumspect as they weighed up their chances of advancing past the group phase.
"It is difficult to say how we are or how we are doing because football players have many ups and downs now, and it is difficult to give a clear idea of this," said Panama's head coach, Dario Gomez.
Panama and Haiti have largely home-based squads.
All the members of Gomez's squad, with the exception of three based overseas, have been training together in advance of the tournament. The squad will be joined by MLS players, goalkeeper Jamie Penedo (LA Galaxy), as well as forwards Blas Perez (FC Dallas) and Gabriel Torres (Colorado Rapids).
Haiti's head coach, Marc Collat, also expects competition but wants his players to express themselves.
"It is a very difficult group, but what I want the players to understand is that we really are able to compete with the other teams within the region," he admitted.