The CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals are set

The final eight for the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament is set.

Costa Rica will face Panama in the first quarterfinal, Wednesday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia at 3 p.m. Afterward, the U.S. will take on El Salvador at 6 p.m.

The next night at University of Phoenix Stadium, the second set of quarterfinals will take place. Jamaica  and Canada will kick off the day at 4:30 p.m., with Mexico taking on Honduras at 7:30 p.m.

The winners of Wednesday’s games (Costa Rica-Panama; U.S.-El Salvador) will face off in the semifinal, July 22 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas.

The Thursday winners will advance to the Rose Bowl for their semifinal, July 23.

The final will take place July 26 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

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FOX soccer analysts preview CONCACAF Gold Cup

FOX Soccer analysts Landon Donovan, Alexi Lalas, Stu Holden and Cobi Jones offered their thoughts on the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup:

Landon Donovan is most excited to watch the tournament’s younger players:

“I’m looking forward to seeing all of the young and inexperienced players from the various countries, particularly Panama, Mexico and the United States. We know a majority of the veteran players will not be participating in the tournament, so this presents an opportunity for young talent to perform for their coaches and respective countries.”

Alexi Lalas says Mexico has the most pressure to succeed:

“Mexico is under the most pressure. Juan Carlos Osorio just received a six-game suspension for his sideline behavior during the FIFA Confederations Cup that ended poorly for him with two losses. Any perceived slip-up will be used to justify a change. Maybe that slip-up is in the form of an experimental Mexico team that succeeds and entertains without ‘El Professor’ at the helm? It’s a hungry, deep and balanced Mexico team with motivated players that will see the Gold Cup as an opportunity to impress and secure a spot in the team next summer. The fan support for Mexico will also create a home-field advantage for the team.”

Stu Holden predicts a USA vs. Mexico final:

“I think it will be the USA facing Mexico in the final. Both countries are bringing their B teams to the tournament, but these teams have the most depth. The U.S. MNT is young and hungry, and they are looking to cement their place on the roster. I know how it feels, having experienced that in the 2009 Gold Cup and then making the World Cup roster in 2010.”

Cobi Jones says the U.S. MNT has what it takes to succeed:

“The USA has new motivation and energy under Bruce Arena. The young players are eager to showcase their talents and prove they should be considered for next summer.”

Lalas says the Gold Cup is an excellent chance for players to earn a spot on the World Cup roster:

“We will see 1-2 players emerge, securing their spot for next summer. I love seeing a player presented with an opportunity and grabbing it with both hands. For most on this team, it will be their last chance to turn Bruce Arena’s head and plant that seed that they should be part of the World Cup roster. This is also the first and only time we will see Arena 2.0 in a tournament setting before next summer. He is very good at orchestrating the proper pace and burn at tournaments.”

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