The Copa America Centenario
Over the past six months or so, we have had more and more people come in and inquire about playing soccer matches at the brewery. It started with groups stopping by for English Premier League and Champions League matches and now as spilled over to NYCFC matches since the new Major League Soccer season has kicked off.
Given the interest, we would be remiss if we did not show the oldest tournament in the history of international soccer…let alone one that a) has the United States Men’s National Team as a participant and B) is being played in the good ol’ U-S-of-A. From June 3-27, we will be showing the Copa America Centenario, a tournament consisting of teams from North, Central and South America.
This edition is quite special: it is the 100th anniversary of the tournament. No other soccer competition, not even the World Cup, can boast that many. The United States has only participated in three Copa Americas prior to this tournament, as they have to be invited since it is usually a competition of South and Central America exclusively. As a country, our best finish came in 1995, which we finished 4th overall. We also participated in the 1993 and 2007 tournaments.
For the centennial, the soccer federations of North and South America decided to play the competition in the United States for the first (and possibly last) time. Some of the biggest stars in world soccer will be playing for the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia. The United States, Mexico and Costa Rica represent the most stout competition out of the invited nations.
Like the World Cup, the Copa America starts out with a group stage and then advances to the knockout rounds. The USA is in Group A, being the host nation, and will have to navigate through a tough three matches against Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay to start the competition.
Here’s what the schedule looks like (we will be playing all USA matches):
Friday 6/3- USA v Colombia @ 9:30pm
Tuesday 6/7- USA v Costa Rica @ 8pm
Saturday 6/11- USA v Paraguay @ 7pm
It will be a tough task for the USA to get out of the group, but we are more than capable. Colombia and Costa Rica both advanced to the knockout rounds of the last World Cup, so they will be the stiffest competition.
Here are 3 USA players to look out for during the tournament:
Michael Bradley, Midfielder: Bradley is the Captain of team USA and the player that really makes the team tick from the center of midfield. At 28 years old, he already has accumulated 115 appearances for the Stars and Stripes, making him one of the most experienced players we have. As Bradley goes, so goes the team.
Christian Pulisic, Forward/Attacking Midfield: The 17-year-old Hershey, PA native is the youngest player to score for the national team and gets regular playing time for German club giants Borussia Dortmund. He will more than likely play a super-sub role off the bench, but look for him to make a difference when he’s on the field.
Fabian Johnson, Outside Defender: Johnson has been identified as the best American player across the board, but give a lack of depth at the left back position, he will be playing in a spot that is not his best. However, if he can use his quality to both defend and get forward to help the attack, the USA will be in good shape in the group stage.
I hope you enjoyed this little preview of the tournament. We hope to see you out at the brewery to watch this historic competition and cheer on the Land of the Free!
– Nicky Vowels