Gold Cup Soccer: Day 4 Analysis and Predictions

Gold Cup Soccer: Day 4 Analysis and Predictions

Gold Cup soccer: Day 4 analysis and predictions
By Shawn Young

Both dogs won straight up Friday night. That leaves Group A completely up in the air. Canada nipped Jamaica 1-0, while El Salvador surprised Costa Rica 2-1. Friday’s losers open Tuesday’s action with a virtual elimination game. Friday’s winners then square off to fight for the inside track to be group winner.

Tuesday’s venue is a soccer specific stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The field should be excellent. Clear conditions and low 70s temperatures await the teams - a perfect setting for soccer.

COSTA RICA (-0.5, flat) vs. JAMAICA

Two early yellow cards threw Costa Rica’s “Ticos” off their game early Friday. El Salvador’s Romero victimized the group favorites with a huge individual effort in the first half. A poor clearance by Herrera with three minutes to go sealed the loss. Costa Rica nevertheless had possession 53 percent of the game and 12 shots to El Salvador’s 7.

Jamaica played Canada at a walking pace in the first half and will need to show more urgency early against Costa Rica. Jamaica will also have to show a lot more discipline: Shelton, Johnson, Phillips, and Davis all picked up yellow cards Friday.

Quite simply, Tuesday is Tico Time. Costa Rica found full throttle occasionally in their Friday match while Jamaica never got out of second gear. If this had been the tournament opener, the Ticos would be 1-goal favorites here. It’s only half a goal now, so Costa Rica is worth a bet.

Prediction: Costa Rica 2, Jamaica 0

CANADA (pk, -150) vs EL SALVADOR

Canada played Jamaica even and Gerba scored a nice goal to win. The only real spot of concern is that De Guzman was booked. When Canada’s back four got the ball against Jamaica, Jamaica rarely contested the first pass to a midfielder. Most of what Canada does flows through De Guzman, and Canada had more space in which to operate once they figured out that De Guzman did not need to retreat quite so deeply to get the ball.

El Salvador will be a lot less patient. Manager de los Cobos was pleased his side snapped their losing streak against Costa Rica, but said that his team won’t continue to get results by sitting back and waiting for counterattacking opportunities.

With wins in their pockets, a draw helps both teams. A draw is close here but can almost never be bet to advantage in soccer. You’d need to find +300 to actually have the edge, and right now the market is shaping up at +225 to +250. A half-decent surrogate for the draw is under 2.5 goals, since over 80 percent of draws end 0-0 or 1-1.

Alas, you need to go under around flat and all we’re seeing is under -150. Door No. 3 is El Salvador at +0.5, -140 - if you can find it. But under no circumstances should you lay more than -150. The moral of the story: not every game has an edge. If you have to sit this game out, sit it out.

Prediction: Canada 1, El Salvador 1 

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