CONCACAF Confederations Cup Playoff: USA vs. Mexico, October 9 at the Rose Bowl

By Mike Cardillo

Mexico claimed the 2015 Gold Cup, defeating Jamaica 3-1 in the final Sunday night in Philadelphia.

The big winner from the tournament might end up being CONCACAF. Mexico’s win sets up a one-game playoff with the United States on Oct. 9 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Bear in mind the recent summer friendly between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Barcelona drew over 93,000 to the same venue.

Following its controversial 2-1 loss in the semifinals many in the Panama camp called out FIFA for fixing the result in Mexico’s favor. American referee Mark Geiger also admitted making mistakes in the game but CONCACAF chalked it up to human error.

However it played out, CONCACAF isn’t going to complain come Oct. 9.

For any confused or casual soccer fans, the Confederations Cup is staged the year before the World Cup in the country hosting the tournament as a sort of a “dry run.”

Germany, Chile, Australia and host Russia have already qualified for the 2017 Confederations Cup. The final four participants will come from the winners of the next Europe, Africa and Oceania confederation tournaments. The winner of the pending USA/Mexico playoff rounds out the field of eight.

Participating in the Confederations Cup is significant for the United States since it’s a rare, non-World Cup opportunity to play against the world’s best in a non-friendly setting. The U.S. famously defeated Spain at the 2009 tournament in South Africa.

The United States booked its place in the one-game playoff via winning the 2013 Gold Cup. Had Jurgen Klinsmann’s team won the 2015 tournament, instead of finishing fourth, the U.S. would have qualified directly into the Confederations Cup.

Now the onus is on Klinsmann to find a starting lineup over the next two months that can best its biggest rival in a pass/fail setting.

RELATED: USMNT: The Song Remains the Same