CHICAGO -- "Obligated to win." El Tri coach Miguel Herrera's turn of phrase -- repeated since the start of the year -- sums up Mexico's mission at the Gold Cup. It is black and white and leaves no room for excuses or U-turns after the event.
Bring back the cup, or else. It's almost threatening. And when you look at the historically tenuous nature of Mexico's head coach position, it is no stretch to suggest Herrera's job may well be under consideration if El Tri doesn't lift the trophy on July 26...
With the CONCACAF Gold Cup set to kick off, ESPN FC writers Jeff Carlisle, Doug McIntyre, Jason Davis, Tom Marshall, Cesar Hernandez and Andrea Canales make their tournament predictions.
Who will win the Gold Cup?
Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle): United States
Marshall (@MexicoWorldCup): United States
Hernandez (@cesarhfutbol): Mexico
Canales (@SoccerCanales): Costa Rica
What do you think?
Who will be the runner-up?
On Tuesday night the U.S. men's national team kicks off the 2015 Gold Cup, attempting to repeat as the tournament champs after bringing home the CONCACAF-based title in 2013.
The U.S. and Mexico are the tournament favorites, and to meet El Tri in the likely Gold Cup title match, the Americans will need to navigate a group featuring pesky foes Honduras and Panama before advancing to the knockout stage.
Which U.S. player will have the biggest impact on the team's performance based on how well or poorly he plays? Which young player needs to step up the most for the U.S.? Which American has the most to prove? And which U.S. player would be the most important provisional squad call-up for the group stage?
We assembled a panel of six ESPN USMNT experts -- including FC Insiders Doug McIntyre, Adrian Melville and Kasey Keller, FC USMNT reporters Jeff Carlisle and Jason Davis, and Paul Carr from ESPN Stats & Info -- to weigh in on these questions as well as to get their prediction on whether the U.S. will win the Gold Cup....
FRISCO, Texas -- It would be a stretch to draw too many parallels between Tuesday's Gold Cup opener for the U.S. against Honduras and last summer's must-win World Cup curtain raiser vs. Ghana that helped propel the Americans into the second round.
Beyond that, though, it's hard to overstate the importance of making a positive first impression at this month's regional championship, with the Catrachos easily the toughest opponent the U.S. will face in the group stage.
"It's crucial in any tournament...