U.S seek Gold Cup glory in shadow of women's team

Mon Jul 6, 2015 3:26pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - There are few countries where a men's national team can be overshadowed by its women's side but Juergen Klinsmann's United States face the task of grabbing public attention back for this week's CONCACAF Gold Cup start.

The Americans won the Women’s World Cup on Sunday with a 5-2 triumph over Japan, watched by a reported 25 million fans on television, but on Tuesday Klinsmann’s U.S. men's team kick off their attempt to defend their regional title.

There will be a fraction of the audience for the opening group game against Honduras in Frisco, Texas, but Klinsmann knows his side will be expected to outshine CONCACAF rivals Mexico and Costa Rica to win their sixth Gold Cup.

“It is very, very important to us obviously to do everything possible to win this competition. Winning it would qualify us for the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, so putting the pieces together is very crucial,” said Klinsmann.

The Americans have been placed with Honduras, Haiti and Panama in Group A in the 12-nation tournament which concludes with a final in Philadelphia on July 26.

Mexico, who with six titles are the most successful team in CONCACAF competition, will present, as usual, the strongest challenge to Klinsmann’s team.

Real Sociedad forward Carlos Vela has ended his dispute with the Mexican federation which led to him missing the World Cup last year and is back in the squad for the tournament.

But ‘El Tri’ will be without striker Javier ’Chicharito’ Hernandez who broke a collar bone in a friendly against Honduras last week. The Mexicans are in Group C with Cuba, Guatemala and Trinidad & Tobago.   Continued...

U.S. national soccer team coach Juergen Klinsmann gestures during their international friendly soccer match against Germany in Cologne, Germany June 10, 2015.  REUTERS/Ina Fassbender