In the last five CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championships, only two teams have lifted the trophy: Honduras twice and, of course, defending champion Mexico on three occasions. This version of the under-23 Tricolor, however, has big shoes to fill. Three years ago, the Mexicans blazed through the competition with a perfect 5-0-0 record, topping Honduras in the final (2-1 aet), while scoring 16 goals and conceding a paltry three. Months later, that the same side – with the addition of overage players such as superstar forward Oribe Peralta – captured the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Football Tournament. Does the current side have the same potential for the ultimate success? Judging from the conglomeration of talent on the roster, a repeat performance is certainly within reach. Forward Hirving Lozano is certainly one to watch. The 20-year-old was instrumental in helping Mexico win the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, meriting a place in the tournament’s Best XI team and sharing Golden Boot honors the USA’s Romain Gall on five goals each. He also found the back of the net once in the 2014/15 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League (SCCL) with Pachuca. Erick Gutierrez — Lozano’s Tuzo teammate – has an opportunity to grow his reputation even further internationally. The supremely resourceful midfielder – also named to the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship Best XI squad – netted three goals in the 2014/15 SCCL. A returnee from the 2012 side is Houston Dynamo forward Erick Torres, who also helped guide Mexico to the 2014 Central American & Caribbean Games title with five goals.
Player to Track: DF Carlos Salcedo (Guadalajara/Mexico)
Trinidad & Tobago
PPL Park, a state-of-the-art 18,500-seat Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium, serves as home to Philadelphia Union. Since opening its doors on June 27, 2010, it has hosted numerous events for multiple sports. In October 2014, the CONCACAF Women’s Championship finals were held there as the United States, Costa Rica and Mexico earned berths to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Two years earlier, the MLS All-Stars squared off against English-power Chelsea before a crowd of 19,236. PPL Park has been recognized on multiple occasions, winning awards from Mid Atlantic Construction Magazine for “Best Sports/Recreation Project of the Year,” the Delaware County Planning Commission for outstanding land projects in the County and the NCS4 Facility Achievement Award that honors venues that excel in safety and security operations.
City: Chester, Pennsylvania
Past Gold Cups:first-time venue
Field Size: 120 x 75