The 17th CONCACAF Gold Cup is upon us, hot on the heels of a thrilling run to the end of the Nations League. 

Joint hosts Canada and the US look to face some stiff competition from the more southern nations, and haven’t exactly brought their strongest rosters to the tournament.

Despite a very recent CONCACAF Nations League Final featuring the two, which the US won, it’s actually Mexico that’s out in front as the favourite in the Gold Cup sport betting lines at +165. The US is just behind at +175. 

Kicking off June 24 and running to July 16, here’s what you need to know about the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup Stadiums and Groups

It’s billed as a co-hosted event between Canada and the US, but don’t let that fool you. The vast majority of games will be taking place in the country to the south, with only one stadium in Toronto added to the US stack.

BMO Field and its capacity of 30,991 will host Canada vs Guadeloupe (June 27), and that’s all. The other 14 venues are spread across Texas, North Carolina, California, Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, and Florida.

As we enter the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the regional rankings hold Mexico in the top spot, followed by the United States, Costa Rica, Canada, and Panama.

The seeding has helped align the groups in such a way that, should Canada and the US win their groups, the two will enter the knockout bracket on opposite sides – meaning that they can only meet in the Final. 

Here’s a look at how the Group Stage has been drawn, in which every team will play the others once, and the top two will enter the Quarter-Finals.

Group A Group B Group C Group D
United States Mexico Costa Rica Canada
Jamaica Haiti Panama Guatemala
Trinidad And Tobago Honduras El Salvador Cuba
Saint Kitts & Nevis Qatar Martinique Guadeloupe

Based on pre-tournament rankings, of the four atop the list, Canada looks to have drawn the easier group with an average ranking of 13.33, followed by the US (13.0), and then Costa Rica (9.0).  

It’s tough to apply this view to Mexico as Qatar is entering outside of the CONCACAF rankings from the AFC, but were they to be given their sixth rank from the AFC, Mexico’s foes would average 7.0. 

That said, Qatar does rank 13 places higher in the FIFA Rankings than the seventh-ranked CONCACAF nation, Jamaica, and far higher than sixth-ranked Haiti: so perhaps Mexico’s group is even tougher from this point of view.

Regardless of ranking, Qatar looks set to be a very tough team to beat. Head coach Carlos Queiroz is a master of making a team far superior than the sum of its parts, particularly when it comes to defensive structure.

Can Canada Claim the 2023 Gold Cup?

Canada certainly could claim the 2023 Gold Cup, but the odds are stacked against them. 

After making it to the Nations League Final, the roster will be missing many of its star performers, including Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Tajon Buchanan, Atiba Hutchinson, Alistair Johnston, Cyle Larin, and Ismaël Koné. 

It’s a depleted roster, and while Stephen Eustáquio will be there to command the midfield, boss John Herdman will find himself limited and unable to rely on the pop provided by world-class stars Davies and David.

Still, it does make some space for a few younger talents to try to impress. Jacen Russel-Rowe, Ali Ahmed, Victor Loturi, Moise Bombito, and perhaps even goalie Tom McGill could see their stock rise at the Gold Cup.

Canada has a relatively easy group to get through, but winning Group D would put them on track to face the runner-up of Group A, which could be a rather tough opponent. This is why they’re out at +510 to win it all.

A Mighty Mexican Team 

It may be without the big names of Hirving Lozano, Tecatito, and Raúl Jiménez, but this Mexico roster is bustling with exciting talents.

Chief among them is Ajax defensive midfielder Edson Álvarez. Absurdly good in the air, at tracking interceptions, putting in clutch tackles, and keeping possession, the 25-year-old has blossomed into a top-class player.

Linked with a big-money move to Borussia Dortmund this summer, Mexico and Ajax will be hoping for a big showing from Álvarez to improve his valuation.

Higher up the field, Santiago Gimenez is coming off of a 23-goal, 45-game season for Feyenoord. The 22-year-old will certainly be looking to fill his boots at the Gold Cup as Mexico’s presumed focus of attack.

Throw in other top talents like Carlos Rodríguez in midfield, Alexis Vega on the wing, César Montes in defence, and Gerardo Arteaga at left-back, as well as veteran Guillermo Ochoa presumably in net, and you’ve got a mighty team.

Getting past Haiti, Honduras, and Qatar won’t be easy in Group B, but landing the top spot could put them on a Semi-Finals collision course with Canada or the runners-up of Group A. 

Keep an Eye on Jamaica

Recent results have been hit-and-miss of late. A 0-0 tie with Trinidad & Tobago in March was built upon with a solid 2-2 draw with Mexico in the Nations League that same month. 

This month, though, they’ve lost 2-1 to Qatar and Jordan in friendlies – but without a few key players in each. Looking at the roster coming to the 2023 Gold Cup, these results should be misleading.

The Reggae Boyz have called upon some electric talents from the Premier League, including Demarai Gray (Everton), Ethan Pinnock (Brentford), Leon Bailey (Aston Villa), Michail Antonio (West Ham United), Bobby de Cordova-Reid (Fulham), and newly promoted Amari’I Bell (Luton Town). 

It’s a high-calibre core stuffed with difference-makers, even if the surrounding cast is a little bit light by comparison.

One boost from beyond the English top-flight will be seasoned netminder Andre Blake of Philadelphia Union, who kept nine clean sheets in 21 games, only conceding 21 in a campaign that included five Champions Cup games.

Jamaica will have to endure a trial by fire in Group A. Not only do they face Trinidad & Tobago again, but the reigning champions will be hoping to lay down the gauntlet as the -161 favourites in the online sports betting for an opening-day win against the Reggae Boyz. 

Landing second in the group would put Jamaica against the winner of Group D (maybe Canada) and then most likely Mexico in the Semi-Finals. 

Getting through all of that to reach the Final would make them a daunting prospect, but the size of the task is reflected in their +2325 to hoist the 2023 Gold Cup.

USMNT without its Biggest Names

Antonee Robinson, Christian Pulisic, Ricardo Pepi, Tyler Adams, Giovanni Reyna, Sergiño Dest, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, Brenden Aaronson, Timothy Weah, and Josh Sargent are all missing from the USMNT. 

Headlining this roster are the likes of goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, forwards Brandon Vazquez and Jesús Ferreira, and midfielders Christian Roldán and Djordje Mihailovic.

Most of the top talents featured in the Nations League games, and so, have been given a pass on attending the Gold Cup over the next month. 

Now, this isn’t to say that the USMNT can’t put up a good fight and isn’t strong enough to beat most other teams at the tournament, but it’s certainly not the A-Team being fielded for this second home tournament in a row.

As with Canada, though, the turnover will allow for some young guns to showcase their skills.

Hopefully, the likes of Cade Cowell, Bryan Reynolds, Gianluca Busio, and John Tolkin will get plenty of minutes.

The chosen roster makes Group A less of a sure thing, especially if Jamaica show up to the potential of their high-calibre stars. Winning and coming second in Group A determines their Group D foe and if they could see Mexico in the Semi-Finals. 

Overall, the US does look to be a bit overrated in the odds at +175¸ especially given the strength of Mexico (+165) and what could be a breakout team in the form of Jamaica (+2325) in their group.

Coming so soon after the Nations League Finals, the front-runners for the 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup aren’t as sure-footed as they may have been, opening the path for a team to upset the joint hosts and the odds.

*Credit for all images in this article belongs to AP Photo*

Ben is very much a sports nerd, being obsessed with statistical deep dives and the numbers behind the results and performances.

Top of the agenda are hockey, soccer, and boxing, but there's always time for the NFL, cricket, Formula One, and a bit of mixed martial arts.