The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup was the 13th edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup competition and the 23rd CONCACAF regional championship overall in the organization's fifty-four years of existence. It was held in the United States, with two matches being played in Canada, marking the first time the CONCACAF Gold Cup was played in that country.[2]

Mexico won the competition after surviving both the quarterfinals and semifinals in controversial circumstances,[4][5][6] defeating Jamaica – the first Caribbean nation to reach such a stage – in the final.[3] Of the co-hosts, Canada was eliminated in the group stage, while the United States, the defending champions, lost in the semifinals to Jamaica. The competition included a third place match for the first time since 2003,[9] in which Panama defeated the United States.

Qualification for other tournaments

The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup was used for qualification for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, to be played in Russia, and the Copa América Centenario, to be played in the United States in 2016.

FIFA Confederations Cup

As champions of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Mexico qualified for a one-off play-off match against the United States, the champion of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, to decide which team will represent CONCACAF in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Mexico won the match 3-2 after extra time.[4]

Copa América Centenario

In addition, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, and Cuba, being the top four teams in the tournament not already qualified, qualified for play-offs which determined the remaining two teams to participate in the Copa América Centenario in 2016.[4] The United States, Mexico, Costa Rica (winners of the 2014 Copa Centroamericana), and Jamaica (winners of the 2014 Caribbean Cup) had already qualified before the tournament, with Panama and Haiti rounding out the six representatives CONCACAF sent to the Copa América Centenario following their play-off victories over Cuba and Trinidad and Tobago, respectively.

Qualified teams

A total of 12 teams qualified for the tournament. Three berths were allocated to North America, four to Central America, and four to the Caribbean. For the first time, the two overall fifth-placed teams of the Caribbean zone and the Central American zone competed for the final berth of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Previously, five berths were allocated to Central America and four were allocated to the Caribbean.[3]

TeamQualificationGold CupappearancesPrevious best performanceFIFA Ranking
at start of event
North American zone
 United States (Title holders)Co-hosts / Automatic13thChampions (1991, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2013)27
 MexicoAutomatic13thChampions (1993, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2009, 2011)23
 CanadaCo-hosts / Automatic12thChampions (2000)109
Central American zone qualified through the 2014 Copa Centroamericana
 Costa RicaWinners12thRunners-up (2002)14
 GuatemalaRunners-up10thFourth Place (1996)93
 PanamaThird Place7thRunners-up (2005, 2013)54
 El SalvadorFourth Place9thQuarterfinals (2002, 2003, 2011, 2013)89
Caribbean zone qualified through the 2014 Caribbean Cup
 JamaicaWinners9thThird Place (1993)65
 Trinidad and TobagoRunners-up9thThird Place (2000)67
 HaitiThird Place6thQuarterfinals (2002, 2009)76
 CubaFourth Place8thQuarterfinals (2003, 2013)107
Play-off winner between Caribbean zone fifth place and Central American zone fifth place
 HondurasPlay-off12thRunner-up (1991)75

Bold indicates that the corresponding team was hosting the event.

Venues

A total of 14 venues were used for the tournament. CONCACAF announced the host cities and venues for the tournament on December 16, 2014.[2] Apart from the Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia which hosted the final and the PPL Park in Chester which hosted the third place match (both located in the Philadelphia metropolitan area), the other 12 venues hosted two matches. The assignment of matches for the knockout round and the awarding of the final were announced on March 12, 2015.[13]

East RutherfordCharlotteAtlantaBaltimorePhiladelphia
MetLife StadiumBank of America StadiumGeorgia DomeM&T Bank StadiumLincoln Financial Field
Capacity: 82,566Capacity: 74,455Capacity: 74,228Capacity: 71,008Capacity: 69,176
Quarter-finalsGroup CSemi-finalsQuarter-finalsFinal
Foxborough
Chicago
Gillette StadiumSoldier Field
Capacity: 68,756Capacity: 63,500
Group AGroup C
Glendale, ArizonaCarson, California
University of Phoenix StadiumStubHub Center
Capacity: 63,400Capacity: 30,510
Group CGroup B
HoustonTorontoFrisco, TexasChester, PennsylvaniaKansas City
BBVA Compass StadiumBMO FieldToyota StadiumPPL ParkSporting Park
Capacity: 22,039Capacity: 30,991Capacity: 20,500Capacity: 18,500Capacity: 18,467
Group BGroup BGroup A3rd Place MatchGroup A

Draw

The seeded teams which headed up each group was announced on December 16, 2014: United States (Group A), Costa Rica (Group B), and Mexico (Group C).[2] Seeded teams were determined based on November 27, 2014 FIFA rankings (shown in brackets).

SeededUnseeded

 Costa Rica (16)
 Mexico (20)
 United States (28)

 Trinidad and Tobago (54)
 Panama (56)
 Haiti (68)

 Jamaica (71)
 Honduras (72)
 Guatemala (73)

 Cuba (79)
 El Salvador (93)
 Canada (110)

The composition of the groups and the schedule of the tournament were announced by CONCACAF on March 12, 2015.[13]

Squads

An initial provisional list of 35 players had to be submitted to CONCACAF before June 7, 2015. A final list containing 23 players was to have been submitted for June 27, 2015. Three of the players named in the final list had to be goalkeepers.[15] The players named in the final list had to wear shirts numbered 1 to 23, with number 1 reserved for a goalkeeper.

Teams qualifying for the quarter-final stage were permitted to replace up to six players. The replacements had to have been named on the provisional list and would be given a shirt numbered between 24 and 29.

An injured player from the final list could be replaced by another from provisional list 24 hours before his national team's first game.

Group stage

The top two teams from each group and the two best third-placed teams qualify for the quarter-finals. All match times listed are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Tiebreakers

The ranking of each team in each group will be determined as follows:

  1. Greatest number of points obtained in group matches
  2. Goal difference in all group matches
  3. Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
  4. Greatest number of points obtained in group matches between the teams concerned;
  5. Drawing of lots by the Gold Cup Committee.[15]

Group A

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsQualification
1 United States (H)321042+27Advance to knockout stage
2 Haiti31112204
3 Panama30303303
4 Honduras301224−21
Source:
(H) Host.

7 July 2015
18:00
Panama 1–1 Haiti
Quintero Goal 55'Nazon Goal 85'
Toyota Stadium, Frisco
Attendance: 22,357
Referee: Henry Bejarano (Costa Rica)

7 July 2015
20:30
United States 2–1 Honduras
Dempsey Goal 25'64'Discua Goal 69'
Toyota Stadium, Frisco
Attendance: 22,357
Referee: César Ramos (Mexico)

10 July 2015
18:00
Honduras 1–1 Panama
Najar Goal 81'Tejada Goal 21'
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
Attendance: 46,720
Referee: Marlon Mejía (El Salvador)

10 July 2015
20:30
United States 1–0 Haiti
Dempsey Goal 47'
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
Attendance: 46,720
Referee: Ricardo Montero (Costa Rica)

13 July 2015
18:00
Haiti 1–0 Honduras
Nazon Goal 13'
Sporting Park, Kansas City
Attendance: 18,467
Referee: Joel Aguilar (El Salvador)

13 July 2015
20:30
Panama 1–1 United States
Pérez Goal 34'Bradley Goal 55'
Sporting Park, Kansas City
Attendance: 18,467
Referee: Roberto García (Mexico)

Group B

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsQualification
1 Jamaica321042+27Advance to knockout stage
2 Costa Rica30303303
3 El Salvador302112−12
4 Canada (H)302101−12
Source:
(H) Host.

8 July 2015
17:00
Costa Rica 2–2 Jamaica
Miller Goal 33'
Ramírez Goal 37'
McCleary Goal 13'
McAnuff Goal 48'
StubHub Center, Carson
Attendance: 22,648
Referee: Fernando Guerrero (Mexico)

8 July 2015
19:30
El Salvador 0–0 Canada
StubHub Center, Carson
Attendance: 22,648
Referee: Óscar Moncada (Honduras)

11 July 2015
17:30
Jamaica 1–0 Canada
Austin Goal 90+2'
BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston
Attendance: 22,017
Referee: Yadel Martínez (Cuba)

14 July 2015
18:00
Jamaica 1–0 El Salvador
McCleary Goal 71'
BMO Field, Toronto
Attendance: 16,674
Referee: Walter López (Guatemala)

14 July 2015
20:30
Canada 0–0 Costa Rica
BMO Field, Toronto
Attendance: 16,674
Referee: Héctor Rodríguez (Honduras)

Group C

PosTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsQualification
1 Trinidad and Tobago321095+47Advance to knockout stage
2 Mexico3120104+65
3 Cuba310218−73
4 Guatemala301214−31
Source:

9 July 2015
18:00
Trinidad and Tobago 3–1 Guatemala
Bateau Goal 10'
Cato Goal 13'
J. Jones Goal 25'
C. Ruiz Goal 61'
Soldier Field, Chicago
Attendance: 54,126
Referee: John Pitti (Panama)

9 July 2015
20:30
Mexico 6–0 Cuba
Peralta Goal 16'36'61'
Vela Goal 22'
Guardado Goal 43'
G. dos Santos Goal 75'
Soldier Field, Chicago
Attendance: 54,126
Referee: Wálter Quesada (Costa Rica)

12 July 2015
19:00
Guatemala 0–0 Mexico
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale
Attendance: 62,910
Referee: Armando Castro (Honduras)

15 July 2015
18:00
Cuba 1–0 Guatemala
Reyes Goal 73'
Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
Attendance: 55,823
Referee: Elmer Bonilla (El Salvador)

15 July 2015
20:30
Mexico 4–4 Trinidad and Tobago
Aguilar Goal 32'
Vela Goal 51'
Guardado Goal 88'
K. Jones Goal 90' (o.g.)
Cummings Goal 55'67'
K. Jones Goal 58'
Marshall Goal 90+3'

Ranking of third-placed teams

PosGrpTeamPldWDLGFGAGDPtsQualification
1 Panama30303303Advance to knockout stage
2 Cuba310218−73
3 El Salvador302112−12
Source:
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored; 4) drawing of lots[15]

Knockout stage

In the knockout stage, the eight teams play a single-elimination tournament, with the following rules:[15]

  • In the quarter-finals, teams from the same group cannot play each other.
  • In all matches, if tied after 90 minutes, 30 minutes of extra time are played. If still tied after extra time, a penalty shoot-out is used to determine the winner.
 
QuarterfinalsSemifinalsFinal
 
          
 
18 July – Baltimore
 
 
 United States6
 
22 July – Atlanta
 
 Cuba0
 
 United States1
 
18 July – Baltimore
 
 Jamaica2
 
 Haiti0
 
26 July – Philadelphia
 
 Jamaica1
 
 Jamaica1
 
19 July – East Rutherford
 
 Mexico3
 
 Trinidad and Tobago1 (5)
 
22 July – Atlanta
 
 Panama (pen.)1 (6)
 
 Panama1
 
19 July – East Rutherford
 
 Mexico (a.e.t.)2Third place playoff
 
 Mexico (a.e.t.)1
 
25 July – Chester
 
 Costa Rica0
 
 United States1 (2)
 
 
 Panama (pen.)1 (3)
 

All match times listed are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Quarterfinals

18 July 2015
17:00
United States 6–0 Cuba
Dempsey Goal 4'64' (pen.)78'
Zardes Goal 15'
Jóhannsson Goal 32'
Gonzalez Goal 45'

18 July 2015
20:00
Haiti 0–1 Jamaica
Barnes Goal 6'
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore
Attendance: 37,994
Referee: César Ramos (Mexico)


19 July 2015
19:30
Mexico 1–0 (a.e.t.) Costa Rica
Guardado Goal 120+4' (pen.)

Semifinals

22 July 2015
18:00
United States 1–2 Jamaica
Bradley Goal 47'Mattocks Goal 30'
Barnes Goal 35'
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Attendance: 70,511
Referee: Ricardo Montero (Costa Rica)

22 July 2015
21:00
Panama 1–2 (a.e.t.) Mexico
R. Torres Goal 57'Guardado Goal 90+10' (pen.)105+1' (pen.)
Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Attendance: 70,511
Referee: Mark Geiger (United States)

Third place playoff

Final

26 July 2015
20:00
Jamaica 1–3 Mexico
Mattocks Goal 78'Guardado Goal 31'
Corona Goal 46'
Peralta Goal 60'

Statistics

Goalscorers

7 goals
6 goals
4 goals
2 goals
1 goal
1 own goal

Awards

Winners

 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Winners 

Mexico
Tenth title

Individual awards

The following awards were given at the conclusion of the tournament.

Prize money

The total amount of prize money offered by CONCACAF for the tournament is US$2.75 million, with $1 million being the top prize. Listed below is a breakdown of how the total amount is to be distributed:

  • $100k – To each team eliminated in the (4 teams)
  • $125k – To each team eliminated in the (4 teams)
  • $150k –
  • $200k –
  • $500k –
  • $1 mil –

Match officials

Referees
Assistant referees

Theme songs

"Sun Goes Down" by German DJ Robin Schulz featuring English singer Jasmine Thompson was the official song for the tournament[4]

"You Are Unstoppable" by Austrian singer Conchita Wurst was the official anthem for the tournament.[4]

"All the Way" by Reykon featuring Bebe Rexha was used for Univision's coverage of the tournament.[4]

Awolnation's "I Am" was used for Fox's coverage.

Media

Multiple officials of Traffic Sports were identified in the 2015 FIFA corruption case, which alleged that bribes related to the 2015 Gold Cup amounted to two-thirds of the cost of staging the tournament.[4]

Worldwide TV broadcasting rights[4]

Broadcasting

Country/RegionBroadcasterNotes
 AustraliaSetanta Sports
 AzerbaijanESPN Azerbaijan
 BrazilSporTV
 CanadaSportsnet World, Sportsnet 360, Univision CanadaSimsub via Fox
 ChinaLeTV
 Costa RicaRepretel, Teletica
 El SalvadorTelecorporacion Salvadoreña
 FranceMa Chaîne Sport (MCS)
 GuatemalaCanal 3 and Canal 7
 HondurasTelevicentro
 Hong KongiCable
Latin AmericaGol TV
 MalaysiaAstro
 MexicoTelevisa, TV Azteca
Middle East and North AfricaAbu Dhabi Sports Channel
 NetherlandsFox Sports
 PanamaTV Nacional de Panamá, Medcom
 PortugalSport TV
 SingaporeStarhub
 SpainbeIN Sports, Mediapro
Sub-Saharan AfricaSupersport
 TaiwanSportcast
 ThailandGrammy
 United Kingdom
 Republic of Ireland
BT Sport,[4] Bet365 (online streaming)
 United StatesFox (English)
Univision (Spanish)

Controversies

Jamaican players' strike

On July 6, the Jamaica national football team refused to attend a 7pm practice session at the StubHub Center because of a strike over bonus fees.[4] The next day, Jamaica Football Federation president Horace Burrell announced the situation had been "settled" and thanked the players for backing down.[4]

Cuban defections

Cuban attacker Keiler García defected to the United States in Chicago on July 8, the day before his team's opening game against Mexico at Soldier Field. He did not show up for the team breakfast in the hotel and was absent from the subsequent training session.[4] Because of problems obtaining US visas for players and staff, and the defection of García, Cuba only had 16 players available for the opening game against Mexico.[4] Arael Argüellez also defected in Chicago, after being visited in the hotel by friends. He failed to turn up for the national team's flight to Phoenix to Cuba's second match, against Trinidad and Tobago.[5]

On July 14, Darío Suárez did not return from his trip to a supermarket prior to the match against Guatemala in Charlotte.[5] Later the same day, midfielder Ariel Martínez was reported in tears on the bus returning to the hotel following the 1-0 victory over Guatemala to qualify for the quarter-final stage. Upon arrival, he exited the bus, said goodbye to the coach and then ran off into the night.[5]

Cuban US visa issues

Cuba's opening game against Mexico was affected by United States visa issues. The head coach Raúl González Triana and six players (Adrián Diz, Arichel Hernandez, Daniel Luis, Andy Vaquero, Maikel Reyes and Sandy Sánchez) were unable to enter the United States before the match against Mexico which took place on the third day of the competition. They had all recently been involved in the 2015 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship qualification tournament in Antigua and Barbuda and it had caused some administration issues.

Arichel Hernández did not enter the United States at all because of visa problems.[5]

Controversial refereeing

During the quarter-final match between Mexico and Costa Rica, Walter López's assistant referee Eric Boria marked a penalty for Mexico, in the last minute of stoppage time in the second half of extra time, for a push by Costa Rican defender Roy Miller on Oribe Peralta. Mexico's Andrés Guardado scored the penalty, eliminating Costa Rica.[5] Daniel Jiménez of La Nación described the elimination as "a theft",[5] although Costa Rica's coach defended the call saying "he [the referee] is human. He saw something in the area and that’s why he called the penalty."[5] Miller himself claimed Peralta's reaction was "exaggerated" and that there had only been minimal contact between them.[5] In an interview conceded to Prensa Libre on July 23, Wálter López admitted that the call was mistaken, alleging that "due to my position in the field, I was unable to properly see the action. It was my assistant who helped me".[5][5]

In the semi-final match between Mexico and Panama, the US referee Mark Geiger lost control of the match which began with him showing a questionable red card to Panama's Luis Tejada in the 24th minute. Later, as a 10-man Panama was a minute away from winning the match 1-0, he also awarded Mexico a controversial penalty kick for a handball.[6] While defending in the penalty box against the Mexican midfielder Carlos Esquivel, Panama's captain Román Torres lost balance and fell backwards on the ball, touching it[41] (fouls for handling the ball must be deliberate[6]). The decision to award the penalty kick outraged the Panama team who walked off the field and threatened to abandon the match.[43] While the players were involved in a long scuffle with the officials, coaches and other players on the sidelines, the fans repeatedly pelted them with beer glasses and objects.[43] Panama returned to the field after approximately ten minutes.[43] Andrés Guardado scored the penalty and forced the match into extra time, which Mexico subsequently won.[6] After the final whistle, the Panamanian players and coaching staff ran en masse on the field towards the referees, who had to be escorted off the field by security.[6][6] Later, Guardado said in the interview that it hurt to take the penalty and he considered missing the kick on purpose, but "had to be professional".[6] Mexico's coach Miguel Herrera argued there was no reason for Guardado to purposely miss the kick, referencing the controversial decision that awarded penalty to Netherlands over Mexico in the World Cup. "I didn't hear that question in the World Cup when we were knocked out for a penalty that wasn’t", he said. "It seems that only Mexico should declare itself guilty."[6]

On July 23, the Football Associations from both Panama and Costa Rica released their respective statements on their websites regarding such controversies, and requesting the removal of the CONCACAF referees committee members.

On July 24, the CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee suspended the Panamanian goalkeeper Jaime Penedo for two matches for insulting the referee. This meant he would miss the Cup's third-place game and a World Cup qualifier game in November. On top of missing the third-place game because of the red card, forward Luis Tejada was given an additional one match suspension for insulting the referee.[51]

Panama team banner

After the semi-final match against Mexico, the Panamanian players reunited in their locker room and brandished a banner which read "CONCACAF Ladrones ("CONCACAF thieves") and three times "Corruptos" ("corrupt"), while pointing thumbs down in protest. The image was then circulated on Twitter. The CONCACAF Disciplinary Committee subsequently fined Panamanian Football Federation $15,000 for this display.[51]

Referee Committee controversy

Both the Costa Rican Football Federation and Panamanian Football Federation publicly called for those within the Referee Committee at CONCACAF to be removed from their position.

CONCACAF announced that they would discuss the matter at their Executive Committee meeting.

Tournament organization

United States captain Michael Bradley criticized the organization of the tournament, commenting that there was too much traveling involved for teams and the stadiums had poor playing surfaces, while questioning the need for the two best third-placed teams to qualify to the next round.[54] Mexico's head coach Miguel Herrera was also critical of the travel arrangements "It’s a disorder in the airplanes, having rival teams on the same flight, with so much people from CONCACAF, we were all squeezed in, we didn't even have room for our luggage, there was no room for our baggage, Mexico has been transporting their luggage on road and that’s how we have been working".[54] Both Herrera and Bradley were fined by CONCACAF for their comments.