Red will be watching a lot of soccer over the next few weeks with the Copa America Centario and the European Championship overlapping. Here are Red’s picks for the CAC starting tonight:
Group A – 1st Columbia; 2d USA
Group B – 1st Brazil; 2d Ecuador
Group C – 1st Mexico; 2d Uruguay
Group D – 1st Argentina, 2d Chile
Red doesn’t think that any of the CONCACAF teams other than the US and Mexico stand a chance to make it out of group play with the possible exception of Jamaica. The Reggae Boys got a tough draw with Uruguay and Mexico in Group C. They clearly could make it out of a weak group like B. And perhaps Haiti will surprise and knock off Ecuador for the second spot in Group B. Costa Rica might have had a chance but with ace goalkeeper Navas out it is a tough road. The “match” of group play comes early with the Argentina-Chile pairing on June 6 in Santa Clara. The match between the last two teams left standing in the tournament last year will be must see TV for all soccer fans.
Columbia 3 Ecuador 0
Argentina 1 Uruguay 0
USA 2 Brazil 2 (USA advances on PKs)
Mexico 2 Chile 1
A bit of a stretch to think that the US can beat Brazil but Brazil is playing with Neymar, Jr. (who decided to play in the Olympics) and this is not an outstanding Brazilian squad. Argentina will be at full strength and has numerous weapons but is weak on the back line. Columbia breezes by virtue of a relatively lucky draw. And Mexico is fielding perhaps their strongest team ever with Javier Hernandez in good form joined by Peralta up front and a strong back line anchored by Layun and Marquez.
Argentina 3 USA 1
Mexico 2 Columbia 1
The US gets a bad draw here and suffers from not winning its group. Argentina should be the class of the field and Messi needs to prove that he can lead his team to something better than the usual second place finish. Mexico gets a Columbian team that has an off form James Rodriguez and is missing their best defensive players from their remarkable 2014 World Cup Finals run.
Argentina 2 Mexico 1
This could go either way but Los Albicelestes finally get a big trophy to put up on the mantel.