Leon Bailey & Bermuda Two Things To Watch At Concacaf Gold Cup

Concacaf instituted several changes to this year's Gold Cup, which kicks off on June 15 at the Rose Bowl. Most notably, the tournament expanded from 12 teams to 16, creating four groups of four teams, meaning the top two teams from each group will advance to the knockout round.

Gone is the ability to make changes to your squad after the group stage, meaning the 23 players named to the teams on Thursday morning will be the only players taking part in the tournament. And while the tournament is once again being hosted in the U.S., Group B will have their first game day in Costa Rica, while Group C will have theirs in Jamaica. 

The U.S. will be looking to retain their title which they won in 2017 over Jamaica. However, the Carribean side has made the past two finals and are looking to become the first country not named the U.S. or Mexico to win the tournament since Canada in 2000.

Before the tournament kicks off, we pick out a player and team to watch for during the Gold Cup.

Player To Watch: Leon Bailey, Jamaica

Bailey has had quite the story, making his way from Jamaica to stardom in Germany with Bayer Leverkusen. Getting a start with K.R.C. Genk in Belgium, the winger moved to Leverkusen in January 2017 at the age of 19. Since then, Bailey has made 82 appearances in all competitions, scoring 17 goals for the German side.

His breakout season came in 2017-18, when Bailey began to get linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe. This past season wasn't quite as fruitful, but Bailey remained a fixture in the side for Die Werkself.


But at the same time, Bailey continuously rebuffed call-ups from Jamaica. Reasons for turning down the chance to represent his country ranged from the standard of the national team to wanting to have his brother called up alongside him. Finally, though, Bailey accepted the call for the Gold Cup, pledging his best for the Reggae Boyz.



Bailey didn't play a part in Wednesday's friendly win over the U.S. at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. And Jamaica don't have another friendly before they start their participation in the Gold Cup. So Bailey's debut could come in Jamaica when the Reggae Boyz face off against Honduras in Kingston in their first game of the Gold Cup.

Jamaica have come close to winning their first Gold Cup in the past two editions. In 2015, they lost in the final to Mexico. They were back in the final in 2017 but fell to the U.S. this time. They bring plenty of experience to the tournament with their squad, but can Bailey be the difference between a runner up finish and Jamaica's first title?

Country To Watch: Bermuda

One country will be making their debut at the 2019 Gold Cup: Bermuda, the tiny British Overseas Territory in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The Gombey Warriors qualified for their first Gold Cup by causing quite the surprise in the qualifying stages of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League. 

Bermuda won three games out of four to not only qualify for League A of the Nations League but to also earn the right to play in their first Gold Cup. After an opening loss to Aruba, Bermuda beat Sint Maarten and then caused upsets against El Salvador and the Dominican Republic to finish fifth in Nations League qualifying. 

Eight players in the squad for the Gold Cup ply their trade in Bermuda. However, forward Nahki Wells has quite the resume for a Bermuda player and will try to help the island nation cause an upset at the Gold Cup. Wells is on the books with Premier League side Burnley but spent the past season on loan with Championship side Queens Park Rangers.

Wells tallied nine goals in 43 games during the 2018-2019 season for QPR; he made nine Premier League appearances for Burnley in 2017-2018, where he moved after helping Huddersfield Town get promoted to England's top division.

Fans of MLS might recognize the name Zeiko Lewis, a midfielder for the Gombey Warriors. Lewis was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in 2017 and spent the season on loan with NYRB II. After spending a year playing in Iceland, Lewis returned to the U.S. this year with the Charleston Battery.

Not much should be expected of Bermuda in this tournament, but they did manage to find themselves in a favorable group. Costa Rica are the clear favorites in Group B, but Haiti and Nicaragua are two teams that Bermuda could get a result against.

With the expansion to 16 teams, third place teams can no longer qualify for the knockout stage. So Bermuda will need to find a way to get past two of the other teams in their group, which, if accomplished, would surely be the biggest surprise of the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. 

Dwight Yorke Shined For Trinidad & Tobago And Manchester United

Sometimes all it takes is an opportunity.

Red Bulls Take Drama-Filled Atlantic Cup Game Against D.C. United

Drama was not in short supply on Wednesday night at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., as the New York Red Bulls beat D.C. United 2-1 to claim the first leg of the 2019 Atlantic Cup. Both sides finished the game with 10 men, as Wayne Rooney was sent off for violent conduct in the first half, followed by the visitor's Amro Tarek in first-half stoppage time.

D.C. United Host Red Bulls With Rivalry Pride & Table Position At Stake

Olsen Recounts Hat-Trick Against NY

It's been nearly a year since they last faced each other, but D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls kick off the MLS Heineken Rivalry Week on Wednesday night when the two sides meet at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. 

Andres Guardado, Nearing Mexico's Cap Record, Is Already A Concacaf Legend

The generation of Mexican players who are just on the cusp of nearing the end of their international careers has been some of the best ever to suit up for El Tri. Javier Hernandez is the country's all-time leading goal scorer, while Guillermo Ochoa is one of the best-ever keepers in the history of Concacaf. Even Carlos Vela, who isn't quite as beloved by fans of the national team, has had a stellar club career over in Europe and in MLS with Los Angeles FC.

Berhalter With A Decision To Make, Canada's Vicious Attack & A Growing Cuba

null

Group A of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League offers no shortage of intriguing storylines. 

D.C. United Can't Overcome Reyna's First Half Goal, Fall 1-0 To 'Caps

With Wayne Rooney back in the lineup, D.C. United could not turn a plethora of shots into a goal on Saturday night, falling 1-0 to the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. Yordy Reyna scored the game's only goal in the 18th minute, as United failed to pick up their first two-game winning streak since May. The loss dropped the Black-and-Red down into fourth place in the Eastern Conference, just one point ahead of rivals the New York Red Bulls, who come to town on Wednesday.

D.C. United Begin Busy Week With Visit To Face Vancouver Whitecaps

The New Look D.C. United

After scraping together a much-needed 2-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Sunday, D.C. United will look to make it two wins in a row tonight when they travel to Canada to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Black-and-Red haven't won two games in a row since May 4 and May 12, when they took down the Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City in back-to-back games at Audi Field. The win over LA last weekend catapulted United back into third place in the Eastern Conference, despite just three wins in their past 14 games.

Concacaf Legends: Honduras' Left Back For Over A Decade, Emilio Izaguirre

Sometimes, it's hard to go back home. 

Clint Dempsey Forged A Career & Persona Unlike Any Other US International

Small-town Texan. Bass fisherman. Rapper. Premier League star. World Cup hero.

League C Brings Caribbean Nations Trying To Climb The Concacaf Ladder

null

The inaugural Concacaf Nation kicks off in less than a month and in League C — the lowest tier of the competition — are 13 nations aiming to grow and gain promotion to League B in the next edition. The tournament is the first of its kind involving all 41 teams in the region and is a welcomed opportunity for many of the participants to convene and take part in more competitive matches than ever before, seven of which FIFA President Gianni Infantino recently visited to assess the development of the sport in the Caribbean.