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.