Can the United States Win the Gold Cup?

The United States are one year away from the World Cup in Russia, and with new head coach Bruce Arena looking for players to bring to the 2018 World Cup, the CONCACAF Gold Cup is a great trial run for young players to show they belong on the roster.

After finishing first in the group stage with a draw against Panama and back-to-back wins against Martinique and Nicaragua, the US are into the knockout stage and will face El Salvador in the quarterfinal tonight.

But the overarching question that every fan of the US men's national team is asking is, can the United States beat Mexico or Costa Rica to win the title? Here's why I think this team can't win this competition.

The Young Talent on this team is lacking in places

Thank God Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and Tim Howard are among the players joining the USMNT tonight in Philadelphia for the knockout stage. Throughout the group stage, the US had a very clear lack of a go to ball controlling player in the midfield.

With Dempsey and Michael Bradley, they now have that needed leadership and veteran players, but this team is still very, very young. The one redeeming player in the midfield during the group stage has to be Dax McCarty who was impressive in his ball distribution and dribbling abilities.

However up top, Dom Dwyer has been spotty, having scored in the first group stage match, but failing to convert from the penalty spot against Nicaragua, and having only made a handful of appearances for the national team, it's hard to put a lot of faith in the 26-year-old.

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Mexico has better depth and more chemistry

They may have only won once in the group stage while drawing twice, but watching this team impresses me far more than watching the US team. I am not a fan of the Mexican national team at all, but from watching them, it seems to me like they have better chemistry and are way more fundamentally sound all around.

Mexico will face Honduras tomorrow, and it should be a pretty easy win for El Tri, and they are definitely the favorites to win the title. Still.

Do I think the US can beat them though? Of course I do. Here's how they can.

Tim Howard, the Brick Wall, joining the team is huge

Let's state the obvious here, Brad Guzan is not a first choice goalkeeper. It was apparent in the win over Martinique in the second game of the group stage as Guzan gave up back-to-back goals that should have been routine saves.

So, Tim Howard joining the team is critical to the team's overall success throughout the remainder of the tournament. If Tim can play at half the level he did against Belgium in the World Cup back in 2014, the US won't concede once.

Veterans joining is also very important

Bradley, Dempsey, and even Altidore coming into the squad is exactly what Bruce Arena needed. The squad from the group stage wouldn't get past the semifinal. No way in hell. But with just the three players coming back, a berth in the final is very possible.

The run for the title begins in just two hours from Philadelphia. It should be fun to watch.