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Concacaf Gold Cup

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Concacaf Gold Cup USA vs Panama I was quite keen on Panama coming into this tournament and ahead of their opener with Haiti wrote ............. "This will be the 13th Gold Cup, the US and Mexico have won 11 of the previous 12 between them and contested five finals including three of the last four and that is what the organisers are hoping for again this year, hence the very favourable draw for that to come about. However, Panama did make the final in 2013 , had an earlier runner up place to their name and made the semis in 2011 and quite rightly see themselves as a major contender.Los Canaleros played two matches in build up with Ecuador and appear well prepared for this event, the same cannot be said for the Haitians who have had just a single game ( 2-2 draw with China) in the last eight months and are going to "bond" as they go along, which was kind of their game plan in 2013 when they lost their opener to Honduras 2-0. They do have a little talent in the team, notably Jeff Louis of Standard Liege, who long term readers might recall I was very keen on whilst he was at Nancy, but they look to match up poorly to me against the very athletic and experienced Panama squad. Ten of their players have 50 + caps and they have three very prolific frontmen in Gabriel Torres, Luis Tejada and especially Blas Perez who is going to be very much at home here with the FC Dallas striker playing in his home stadium tonight. He is extremely strong and good in the air and has a bit of a reputation for being physical and if Panama can isolate him against one or two of the smaller defenders and there are several, that could produce big dividends." Panama did largely dominate that game and then again "blew" a lead against the Hondurans and have led for 90 minutes in total across the two matches. They have not seen out the final 20 minutes that well in either game, but I feel that will be less of a concern this evening, the US have scored all their three goals in the first hour or so and will not be overly pressing late in this game with so little at stake for them and with another three matches to play. Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann rotated heavily, especially at the back between the first two games and will surely do so again this evening. Panama have a decent record against the US in Gold Cup competition, they have lost three of the six meetings , but all by a single goal and they have a win and two draws in the other three and getting odds against and half our money back with a one goal defeat about a team with all the motivation looks the way to go, but not a day I want to get overly involved in, so ............ Panama +0.75 ball 2.14 asian line/Sportmarket.

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TRINIDAD & TOBAGO VS PANAMA PREVIEW I can see that odds on Trinidad & Tobago keep rising and I wonder why. Why they're underdogs at all? I did not like Trinidad & Tobago when they played Cuba, but they exceeded my expectations against Mexico and did a great with Guatemala too in the first match of the competition. Panama qualified thanks to three draws, all of them ending up with a 1-1 score, and the only time I was somehow convinced about their performance was last time with USA. But, I suspect, it had to do with USA being being extremely unconvincing and lacking creativity up-front than with Panama playing exceptionally well. Couldn't beat Haiti and clearly deserved to lose with Honduras, really lucky for them to stay undefeated in that one. Out of three marches it wasn't once when I could say "yes I like this team". I just don't believe they are superior in any way and T&T really deserve a try at these odds. MEXICO VS COSTA RICA PREVIEW Costa Rica are probably the most overrated team in this tournament. They come from the back of their big success at the World Cup, but even that success they talk about so much, could have ended prematurely and with no glory had their opponents been more effective in front of goal. They just got lucky and they are getting lucky here as well. Costa Rica couldn't command respect and even deserved to lose against teams considered of inferior value, as for example El Salvador or Jamaica, they couldn't even beat poor Canada who wouldn't score not even in 100 matches if they continue to play like that. And they nearly get +0.5 with Mexico? Mexico might have been sloppy at the back with T&T last time and I did not like that. But what they've got in attack not in a million years Costa Rica will have. Mexico are just too strong in that department and I actually expect them to be more careful at the back this time. -0.75 looks very good to me and this is one of the best I've got for a while.

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USA/Cuba: Buy bookings at 27 with Star Spreads and bookings 60-ups at 1 with SPIN I can't understand why the price is so low in an International quarter. The game's being reffed by this guy and there's nothing to put me off based on his stats here or on WorldReferee.Com. http://uk.soccerway.com/referees/henry-bejarano/137972/ The competition average is closer to 40 and the bookings in the teams' games have made up as follows (their total in brackets). USA: 20 (10), 30 (0) and 40 (30) - average 23.33 (13.33) Cuba: 0 (0), 40 (20) and 50 (30) - average 30 (16.67) In 2013 the quarter finals averaged 41.25 points and all knock out ties 36.43 with 3/4 and 5/7 seeing over 27 points. The numbers for 2011 were 61.25, 56.43, 4/4 and 7/7. All in all, seems a reasonable enough low risk buy, with the 60-ups a cheap way of "turbocharging" the return if it goes particularly crazy.

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Haiti/Jamaica: Bought Haiti corners squared at 16 with SPIN Breaks even if they gain 4 corners and shows a profit if they get more. They're no great shakes but then neither are their opponents. The price is 5 points higher elsewhere and, all things considered, I'm happy to take the risk of them having a go in a quarter final at such a low price.

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No joy with the bookings in the early game but the 2 yellows at least softened the blow. Better result in the later game with Haiti gaining a huge 17 corners for a corners squared make up of 289 and a 273 point profit. Fair to say that's a better than average outcome!

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Mexico-Panama Ahead of the quarter finals I wrote ...... "Like most big tournaments and in CONCACAF terms this is big, which is why Mexico rested players for the Copa, the cream usually rises to the top at the business end , the US made it through yesterday in style and I expect Mexico and Panama to join them this evening. The trio have been the three main players in the Gold Cup in recent years and whilst they have failed to overly impress this time round, all should make the last four. I am not sure that there is any value in the odds on offer for El Tri, but do feel there is a little about Panama. My notes on them ahead of their match with the US can be read below, that finished 1-1 , two day's later Trinidad drew 4-4 with Mexico to finish top of Group C. Two things about that, one it means that like Cuba yesterday, T&T come into this on 48 hours less recovery time and having had the similar tough travel schedule and secondly, I do not think that Mexico wanted to play Panama in the last eight knockout stage, having struggled with them previously and not matching up that well physically. Los Caneleros will certainly give T&T far more of a test in that department than they have had previously and this looks a good match up to my eyes for Panama, who will get defenders Machado and Henriquez back from suspension, whilst losing midfielder Anibal Godoy to another, but a plus situation overall. The extra two days to prepare are huge , especially given how the two teams play and I want to stick with Panama and take them to reach the semis for the third Gold Cup running." Despite making hard work of things, both made it through and they are, along with the US the three top teams in the Gold Cup. I do believe that Mexico are a little fearful of Panama (as I wrote above) and the six most recent h2h meetings have all been extremely close, two draws and four wins by a single goal (two each). I see this similar to the US-Panama game in that Los Caneleros are one of the very few CONCACAF teams that do not go into match ups with the "big 2" with an inferiority complex and physically, they have an edge against the Mexicans, they won both meetings at the 2013 Gold Cup, each by a 2-1 scoreline, with all four goals coming early in each half, imposing themselves from the kickoff each time. The four goals that El Tri conceded to Trinidad and Tobago are a worry , they look good going forward, but their system and formation leaves them vulnerable at the other end of the pitch when they open up as we saw not just there, but in the Copa and it feels like this match has been priced solely on reputation as opposed to anything we have seen either in 2015 or recent meetings. Panama +0.75 ball 2.03 asian line/Sportmarket.

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USA v Panama: Buy USA bookings at 16 with SX Not sure that Panama should be such strong favourites in the bookings market looking at the head to heads between the teams. Add into the mix the fact that the USA may be the more motivated team in this 3rd place play off, as a 2nd straight loss to CONCACAF opponents would put pressure on coach Jurgen Klinsmann, their general competitive nature, and the circumstances in which Panama lost their semi final v Mexico and I think the prospect of 2 or more USA yellow cards make the price look a little generous. The 7/2 that PP offer for >20 USA bookings points would be an attractive fixed odds alternative.

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Too early for line-ups in that game but have backed two goalscorers with 888. Pimentel 1st and last at 34/1 and anytime at 14/1 Bradley anytime at 15/2 Standout prices that appeal because the former may play in a more advance position according to one preview I read and, though he hasn't scored yet for the National team, scored 7 goals for his club last season. Bradley simply shouldn't be that big in this match. Anything above 4/1 could be made a case for as being value. He scored USA's goal in their defeat to Jamaica last time out. Also seems worth having a small interest on Pimentel to score 2 or more at 125/1 with Skybet. Happy to accept the risk of him not starting and coming on as a late sub at those prices and to modest stakes.

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Looks like Pimentel isn't even on the bench so should be money back on him. Having seen the line-ups I've added the following. Johnson to score at 23/2 with 888 Buy Corona's goal minutes at 6 with SX Both apparently playing in midfield and appear over priced to me at those odds.

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Gold Cup Final : Either team to win on penalties 7/2 sky bet I think this will be close as i cant see many goals in match as the two teams want to keep it tight so the match might be a bit dull with not many shots on goal

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