USA (-400) vs. El Salvador (+1350), Draw (+570)
USA takes on third-place group stage finishers El Salvador on Wednesday (July 19th) in the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They’ll meet in Philadelphia, where the Americans will have a strong home advantage.
Now that the group stages are over, the USMNT is going all in for the Gold Cup. They’ve made use of all six roster changes available to them, opting to send their best possible lineup. Stars like Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Tim Howard had originally been left off the squad, but have now been called upon for the knockout rounds. Also joining the team is backup keeper Jesse González and MLS All-Star Darlington Nagbe.
The US got off to a sluggish start in the group stage. They began with an uneventful 1-1 draw against Panama, opening the scoring in the second half but conceding an equalizer shortly after. Their next game against Martinique saw them up by two goals, only to allow the Martinicans to net two goals of their own to tie up the game. Fortunately, Seattle’s Jordan Morris was able to score his second goal of the night for the 3-2 win.
As one of the favorites to win the cup, US fans were probably expecting a more dominant performance during the group stage. But with the changes made, we should start seeing the USMNT at their best again.
Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley have been pivotal to Toronto FC’s success this season. But they’ll be putting country before club on Wednesday, forgoing a crucial match in order to represent the US. Altidore is a reliable finisher and Bradley is a talented playmaker, two things the USMNT lacked in the group games.
Tim Howard, who has saved the US countless times, will provide some safer hands between the sticks. The ageing Clint Dempsey also adds experience and leadership, with two Gold Cups to his name and over 130 national caps.
El Salvador advanced to the knockout rounds by the skin of their teeth, winning just one of their group games. Apart from captain Darwin Cerén, who plays for the San Jose Earthquakes, there aren’t many notable names in their lineup.
There’s not a lot of value in picking the USMNT, but I wouldn’t count on them losing this one. Head coach Bruce Arena isn’t taking any risks when it comes to the lineup, so we can be sure to see a full-strength US side.
Pick: USA (-400)
Photo credit: Erik Drost (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]
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