Soccer Free Picks: USA Meets Jamaica in Finals of CONCACAF Gold Cup
For the third tournament running, an upset has prevented the two most successful teams in the CONCACAF Gold Cup from squaring off for the championship.
In 2013 it was Panama upsetting Mexico before eventually falling to the USA in the finals 1-0. In 2015 Jamaica upset team USA in the semis before losing 3-1 to Mexico. Now Jamaica was at it again on Sunday taking down Mexico 1-0 for another chance to win it all.
It might not be the finals everyone thought they were getting, but it should be a dandy given the way these teams have played in the knockout stage and their recent history. As shocking as an upset would be here for Jamaica, it would be less of a surprise than the shocker they pulled off in 2015. In that game their speed was too much for team USA and they sped out to a 2-0 lead by the time the match was 36 minutes old on their way to a 2-1 win.
Once again speed is on the Jamaican side combined with the best backend they have ever produced at this tournament. It’s what gave the Mexicans fits in the semifinals and it’s what they’re hoping to bring to the table on Wednesday. Behind that wall of defense is the man who is likely in the lead for the Golden Boot as the tournament MVP, Andre Blake. The man in a word has been sensational. And he has raised the level of his game as the tournament’s gone on. He made five saves in total against Mexico, but two in particular were absolute larceny, a product of his length and incredible cat like reflexes. He has the ability to frustrate team USA all night.
He’ll need to be at his best as we’re witnessing an American team getting better by leaps and bounds as the tournament progresses. They played their most complete game on Saturday in taking down a powerful Costa Rican team 2-0. Coach Bruce Arena brought in six big-time players for the knockout stage after a lackluster group portion of the tournament. They used the quarterfinals against El Salvador as a tune-up, and are determined to finish the job on Wednesday.
Clint Dempsey is also ready to rewrite the record books. He assisted on the first goal on Saturday before scoring on a beautiful free kick to tie Landon Donovan for most international goals ever by an American with 57. It would be an all-American tale if he can get the record on a game winner to boot. What’s more in Joey Altidore, he’s got a running mate that who can work together to score goals out of the smallest of windows. They will be tough to beat.
Cash It In: USA are -200 favorites, Jamaica +650 underdogs, the draw is +300. This game should be much closer than the spread indicates. Jamaica already knows they can beat team USA on this stage and this is their best team ever. USA is primed and ready as well to win their sixth title. I think this game is going to penalty kicks as both goalies stand on their head to preserve a goalless game. 0-0, USA on penalties
Soccer Expert Picks: Draw +300 & Under 2