Gold Cup Soccer: Day 6 Analysis and Predictions

Gold Cup Soccer: Day 6 Analysis and Predictions

Gold Cup Soccer: Day 6 Analysis and Predictions
By Shawn Young

Thursday’s matches are the second round of games in Group C. Reliant Stadium’s retractable roof ensures that the weather in Houston won’t be too bad.

In Sunday’s group games in Oakland, Guadeloupe held on to beat Panama 2-1, and Mexico shuffled past a bad Nicaragua side 2-0. This column’s wallet was previously smitten with Guadeloupe and is now making bedroom eyes at the team. We are Guadeloupe Groupies.

GUADELOUPE (-0.5, -120) vs. NICARAGUA

Guadeloupe found themselves up 2-0 at halftime over Panama and figured they had the game in the bag. Guadeloupe then played an extremely poor second half but hung on to win. Nicaragua was absolutely awful against Mexico and look to live up to their billing as group doormats again.

Guadeloupe will hope to keep their concentration this time, but are once again the right side here if they only have to give up half a goal. Nicaragua has nothing and Guadeloupe has a few players who can take the game by the scruff of the neck and win it singlehandedly.

Fleurival’s 35-yard screamer against Panama will be making the rounds on the “Goals of the Year” shows in December. As a unit, Guadeloupe’s defense is organized enough to shut down whatever Nicaragua comes up with.

Guadeloupe had three players booked in the first game. Nicaragua had two. Neither side has much depth, so the play here could be more cautious. That favors the team with better skills as well - Guadeloupe.

Prediction: Guadeloupe 2, Nicaragua 0

MEXICO (-1.5, even) vs. PANAMA

Mexico manager Javier Aguirre could have put forth a lot of excuses for the dismal showing against Nicaragua. The baseball field was uneven. The team is still getting used to playing together. The moon was in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligned with Mars.

Whatever.

Mexico had only four shots on goal despite 60 percent of the possession and Aguirre took it on the chin. This proud program is in crisis.

Panama was a team of two halves against Guadeloupe and found the 2-0 halftime hole too much to get out of. They did show quality late on and can still qualify for the quarterfinals. The first job is to stay onside. Panama was called offside six times on Sunday.

This game shakes out one of two ways. Either Mexico score in the first 15 minutes or they don’t. If they do, Panama will have to come forward and Mexico could bury them 4-0. If Mexico does not score early, they run the risk of imploding.

Panama came out cold against Guadeloupe and since this column is a degenerate dog bettor, we’re going to make a small bet that Panama can hold the fort here.

All too often Mexico get phantom charity calls from officials (the penalty Sunday was suspect). As such we’ll stick to the handicap on Panama instead of getting greedy for a draw or a win.

Prediction: Mexico 1, Panama 0

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