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Canada vs. Cuba: Concacaf Gold Cup Prediction and Preview

Canada vs. Cuba: Concacaf Gold Cup Prediction and Preview

Canada vs. Cuba: Concacaf Gold Cup Prediction and Preview

To say that Canada and Cuba are both in need of a win is an understatement. Canada (1-1-0, 3 points) needs a win to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stage alive, while Cuba (0-2-0, 0 points) needs a win just to stay alive period. Group A has been quite competitive so advancing from this block won't be easy. Especially with Mexico (2-0, +9 goal differential) dominating this group thus far.

Canada vs. Cuba

When: Sunday, June 23 at 6 p.m. ET

Where: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, N.C.)

TV: FS2 and Univision

Three Things to Watch

1. Canada isn't out of it yet

While Martinique is tied with The Canucks in terms of record (1-1-0, 3 points), Canada is slightly ahead of them in the standings due to the fact that Canada beat them in last weekend's opener (Canada also is ahead in goal differential, +2 vs. -1). So even if both teams finish with the same record when group play concludes, Canada will still advance, as long the goal differential holds. But defeating the struggling Cubans will secure the Canadians' advancement and give themselves breathing room in that regard. After defeating Martinique last week, Canada lost yet another match to seven-time Gold Cup champion Mexico earlier this week.

2. Cuba desperately needs a win

In order to that, however, the Cubans need to score goals. That has been very problematic for this team, which has been outscored 10-0 in losses to Mexico and Martinique. For the Cubans to even have a slight chance at advancing, they need to defeat Canada, put a few goals on the board, and hope that Martinique is unable to score against Mexico. It's an unlikely scenario, but it's the only one Cuba can hope for.

3. History isn't on Cuba's side

The Cubans are 2-6-2 against Canada, but they did split a pair of games back in 2012 as part of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. But in addition to the losing record, Canada also has outscored Cuba 13-9 in those matches.

Final Analysis

It'll take a miracle for Cuba to win this one, but that won't happen here as Canada wins to secure its spot in the knockout stage.

Prediction: Canada 3, Cuba 0

— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.