Soccer Picks: USA Hosts Martinique in CONCACAF Group B Match
by Matt Cash @MattCashCapper
The USA are the hosts of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and are set to meet the French Caribbean island of Martinique on Wednesday night. The game takes place at 9pm ET in Tampa Florida. Look for hot and muggy conditions that may make a full 90-minute effort challenging for both teams.
The US faced their nemesis Panama in their first game of the tournament and the teams ended in a 1-1 draw. The US and Panama have a recent history of delivering timely wins against each other, so it seems only fitting that the rivalry would end that way this early in the tournament.
But it does put some pressure on the heavily favored US team to get an easy win against Martinique in order to help set them up for the remainder of the tournament.
Dom Dwyer netted the only goal for the US side which gave then a brief lead in the opener, but it was goalie Brad Guzan who was the star of the show. He made several key saves which preserved the tie in front of the home crowd.
Martinique pulled off a win in their opener, 2-0 over Nicaragua with both of these teams upstarts making rare appearances in the tournament. For Nicaragua, this is just the second time they’ve appeared in the 13 editions of the Gold Cup. Their first came in 2009 and they failed to score a goal, losing each match and giving up eight goals in the process.
Martinique is making their fifth appearance. They missed out on 2015 after qualifying in 2013. The win on Saturday was just their third in the history of the tournament.
But with the US-Panama tie, the island country is in first place in the group after goals scored by Steeven Langil and Kevin Parsemain.
Parsemain and Jordy Delem are the only two players on the team with experience at the MLS level.
The US is going to be looking for better effort from a number of players, and perhaps the top of the list is Kellyn Acosta. He plays for Dallas FC and the midfielder is expected to be a breakout star in this tournament, but he did little to meet those lofty expectations in the first game.
These teams have met once before in the tournament, with the US winning 2-0 in 2003.
Cash It In: The US are -650 favorites, Martinique +1400 and the draw sits at +575. A good result against Nicaragua notwithstanding, this would be the biggest upset in US soccer history if they were to lose here. Hard to see it happening. USA 4-0.
Soccer Expert Picks: Team USA -2 (-105) & Over 3
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