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Gold Cup Forecaster: Group, title projections

Gold Cup
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Debating U.S. Gold Cup bubble players

United States
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Clint Dempsey says Michael Bradley deserves U.S. captaincy

United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann explains the reasons why he took the captaincy away from Clint Dempsey and gave it to Michael Bradley.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Clint Dempsey wants to look ahead to helping the U.S. defend its CONCACAF Gold Cup title and not back to his confrontation with a referee that caused American coach Jurgen Klinsmann to replace the fiery forward as captain for the tournament.

Dempsey converted a penalty kick in his return from a suspension, Timmy Chandler scored his first international goal and the United States routed Guatemala 4-0 Friday night despite some sloppy play in an exhibition ahead of the Gold Cup.

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GuatemalaGuatemala
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Dempsey...

Gold Cup Forecaster: Which teams are most likely to advance, win title?

Are Michael Bradley and the U.S. or Hector Herrera and Mexico the Gold Cup favorites?
Are Michael Bradley and the U.S. or Hector Herrera and Mexico the Gold Cup favorites?

The 2015 Gold Cup begins on Tuesday, with the CONCACAF title on the line for 12 countries, plus a trip to the 2017 Confederations Cup at stake.

If the United States wins their second straight Gold Cup, the U.S. would qualify directly for the Confed Cup in Russia. But if a different country wins, then a playoff will be held later this year to determine CONCACAF's representative.

The 12-team tournament features three groups of four teams. After round-robin group play, the top two teams advance to the quarterfinals, as do the two best third-place teams.

Because of the forgiving format, the top three CONCACAF teams aren't likely to have difficulty reaching the knockout stage. The United States, Costa Rica and Mexico were seeded atop the groups, and each is heavily favored to win their group. However, the title race projects to be much closer. 

Here's our Soccer Power Index-simulated forecast of every team's group and title finish odds, including team-by-team analysis. (SPI's team rankings and the ratings on which they are based stem from a regression-based algorithm designed to predict soccer matches.)

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Michael Bradley named U.S. captain over Clint Dempsey for Gold Cup

The ESPN FC experts give their insight on Michael Bradley's appointment as USMNT captain for the Gold Cup as Clint Dempsey faces suspension.
The ESPN FC's panel discuss Clint Dempsey's suspension and Michael Bradley's appointment as USMNT captain for the Gold Cup.

CHICAGO -- Michael Bradley will be the U.S. captain for the CONCACAF Gold Cup rather than Clint Dempsey.

Dempsey took over as the American captain from Carlos Bocanegra two years ago. He was suspended for three games by Major League Soccer for a confrontation with a referee on June 16 in Seattle's fourth-round loss to Portland in the U.S. Open Cup, when he grabbed a notebook from the official and tore it after a teammate was given a red card. He also was suspended for six U.S. Open Cup matches.

"It's...