Group D Preview
A new captain for Team USA, a hungry Honduran team, Myanmar looking to make a mark, and another newcomer in Togo round out Group D. Last year, USA was not only their group favorite, but a favorite to win the whole thing. This year, USA has some question marks, and with Honduras not making the cut out of the toughest group of 2016, they have reloaded and have their eyes on the group title. Togo is one of 13 African nations in this year’s tournament, but with no friendly matches they are a true wild card. Myanmar comes back after a tough 2016 outing, but has regrouped and is looking to make some noise in Group D.
MUST-SEE MATCH: September 23, 6pm at Ramp Playground (3300-40 Solly Ave) – USA vs. Honduras
Group E Preview
Venezuela, South Africa, and Serbia are all new teams to this year’s tournament. What is their reward? To be matched up with the defending finalist Liberia! Liberia enters with a bit of a chip on their shoulder after losing in the final a year ago. They return 15 players from last year, including the leading goal scorer in the entire tournament. They are not only this group’s favorite, but favorites to return and win in the championship game. It will be a dogfight watching who else comes out of Group E as Venezuela, South Africa and Serbia all look solid in the preseason friendly matches.
MUST-SEE MATCH: September 17, 2pm at Ramp Playground (3300-40 Solly Ave) – Venezuela vs. Serbia
Group F Preview
Even though they are under new leadership, Team Germany remains the favorite to come out of Group F, but keep an eye on Ethiopia who has been playing preseason matches as far away as Seattle to prep for the cup. Last year’s Nigerian team had a number of Iraqi players, so this year they branched off and pulled together a true Team Iraq who will look to contend for a spot in the knockout round. Bhutan will look to improve on their success from last year and translate it into a post-season berth.
MUST-SEE MATCH: September 24, 11am at Germantown Supersite (Sedgwick & Lowber St) – Germany vs. Ethiopia