On what is a huge night of football there is a Gold Cup semi-final taking place too as the tournament hosts USA look to book a date with Mexico when they take on Jamaica in a repeat of the final of two years ago in Nashville.
These two have made their way serenely through the draw and will collide in a hugely anticipated last four clash. USA won the final two years ago so Jamaica have all the incentive they need for revenge.
I wouldn’t say Jamaica have been massively convincing in this tournament to date but when a 30-yard thunderbolt from Curacao is the only goal they have leaked in the last three matches you know they are at least doing something right. The Jamaicans were already safely through to the knockout stages by that time too so defensively they look to be in a good place at the present time.
Where Jamaica have been disappointing has been in front of goal. They have only scored two goals in their last three outings and one of those in the quarter final was a very debateable penalty. That ultimately saw off Panama but there were times in that match where they were reliant on Andre Blake between the sticks. He might need to have a big night if the Jamaicans are to get their revenge.
Going into the tournament there was a lot of doubt surrounding the USA. Their results heading into the competition were ordinary to say the least and their performances not a whole lot better. However it has been a different story in this event. They have scored freely and are yet to concede a goal in the tournament. Slowly but surely the faith in this USMNT is being put back into the public they serve. No doubt a little inspiration from the women’s team has gone into it as well.
If there is an issue with this America side then it comes in a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal. Although they have scored 12 goals in the tournament only two have come in the last two matches and you wouldn’t exactly say they have faced a stern test thus far. The only relatively decent ranked side they have met to date was Panama and they rested a number of players for the game. It will be interested to see how they react to this test.
Jamaica may well recall Darren Mattocks to their starting line up after he held his nerve from the spot to send them into this semi-final. Leon Bailey hasn’t really justified the hype around him yet in this tournament. Now would be a perfect time.
USA will have to decide whether to go with Gyasi Zardes up front or to bring Jozy Altidore in against what you would consider will be a tough Jamaica defence. Christian Pulisic also hasn’t lit the tournament up just yet. You would think he’s too good not to at some point.
I think this will be a really tight semi-final between two sides who don’t have much between them. USA haven’t conceded a goal in the tournament thus far and while they are into double figures for goals scored I don’t expect them to open up this Jamaica defence as easily as they have got through some of the sides they have played in the competition to date.
I would imagine with the pace they have in their team Jamaica will look to absorb the American attack and then look to spring on them on the counter attack. If there is one thing Jamaica can do it is retain possession but they could be a lot stronger in front of goal. I’m not expecting many goals here but a goal line of two is probably about right. I would rather take the Jamaicans on the Asian handicap where they are getting a full goal head start which looks too much to me. If they avoid defeat we win but we’ll get our money back if they do suffer a narrow loss. That will do for me.
Back Jamaica (+1AH) to beat USA for a 4/10 stake at 1.78 with BetVictor