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Don't underestimate Costa Rica

Gold Cup 2015
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Costa Rica could be Gold Cup dark horse contenders

Joel Campbell, left, and Bryan Ruiz, right, aim to lead Costa Rica to its first CONCACAF title since 1989.

It seems like it would be too soon to forget Costa Rica's inspiring and exciting run in the 2014 World Cup, but that remains the most plausible explanation for the team being so lightly regarded in the upcoming Gold Cup tournament. Many, including the Mexico and United States squads themselves, seem to believe that these two are destined to meet in the final yet again and have dismissed the chances of any other CONCACAF team to claim the title.

It's odd partly because besides impressing with a run...

In Gold Cup opener, Mexico must be wary of Cuba danger

Yenier Marquez and Cuba hope to repeat their surprising success from the 2013 Gold Cup and reach the knockout stages again.

On paper, Mexico should have no trouble against Cuba this Thursday in its opening match of the 2015 Gold Cup. The Leones del Caribe have recently fallen out of the early stages of the 2018 World Cup qualifying competition and also lost 4-1 to the New York Cosmos in a friendly last month. Going into the Gold Cup, the Cubans also find themselves as the likely candidates to finish in last place of Group C.

While Mexico has had its own share of recent struggles, it's difficult to imagine that arguably...

CONCACAF's attempt at reform raises serious questions

ESPN FC's Ross Dyer questions the impact CONCACAF's new reform will have.

CONCACAF announced a reform framework earlier on Monday, but a former member of FIFA's independent governance committee remains unimpressed, saying the announcement lacks sufficient detail to tell if it will result in real reform.

CONCACAF's proposed framework -- made in the wake of federal indictments to some of its top officials -- covers three areas including governance, fraud prevention and transparency. The governance section includes proposals for such things as an as yet unspecified number...

 By Mina Rzouki

Andrea Pirlo improved Juventus' culture and will be missed

The ESPN FC crew discuss the impact Andrea Pirlo will have in Major League Soccer after Juventus recently confirmed the midfielder's move.

"Being a Juventino is to carry oneself with pride and dignity. Till the very end as President [Andrea] Agnelli would say," wrote Andrea Pirlo in his book I Think Therefore I Play.

A player of immense ability, a magician with the ball and a leader off it, Italy's great playmaker has waved goodbye to Juventus and its adoring fans to begin a new adventure with New York City FC in MLS.

A man who arrived from the red and black side of Milan, Juventus were once the enemy. However, having landed in Turin,...

 By Tom Marshall

Bora Milutinovic favors U.S. over Mexico for Gold Cup trophy

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner predicts United States to win the Gold Cup, especially with some injuries some rivals have to deal with.

A former head coach of Mexico, the United States, Honduras, Costa Rica and Jamaica, Bora Milutinovic understands the complexities of the CONCACAF region and its forces at work better than most. And with the Gold Cup getting underway on Tuesday, the experienced tactician is picking the hosts as slight favorites to lift the trophy on July 26 in Philadelphia.

"The logical favorites are the United States because they play at home and because they are looking for revenge for the game they lost in Los...

Arsenal defensive midfield needs to be more than just Coquelin

Petr Cech has said he still has the desire to play regular first-team football, and believes he can receive that at Arsenal.

Having been sent on loan to Charlton in November 2014, Francis Coquelin must have thought his chances of making at Arsenal were almost non-existent.

He was dropping down a division, he seemed to have an endless succession of midfielders ahead of him in North London, and the manager's faith in him was such that he'd been shipped out for the duration of the previous season to Freiburg.

When the call came for him to come back, just before a big game for his temporary club, Coquelin was annoyed because...