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ShepCock

2019 Gold Cup & Copa America

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I love men's international soccer, and thought I'd start a thread about it.

 

Women's soccer I couldn't care less about, to be honest.

 

There's two "lesser" tournaments going on in succession right now, the Gold Cup (or Copa Oro) that involves countries in CONCACAF (mainly North America, Central America and the Caribbean) and CONMEBOL (the 10 nations on South America, which is a traditional soccer powerhouse).

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U.S. shakes off another slow start in dominant win over Trinidad and Tobago

 

After a meandering first 45 minutes, the United States made it two wins in two games in the Gold Cup group stage, defeating Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 on Saturday night in Cleveland.

 

It had been 620 days since the U.S. was denied a place at the 2018 World Cup by the Caribbean nation, when the Americans were defeated 2-1 on the final day of qualifying for the competition. U.S. players this week played down the notion that they'd be seeking revenge for that loss, but their victory was physical throughout and occasionally tempers flared.

 

"Every time we step on the field we want to make a statement," said U.S. forward Gyasi Zardes, who scored twice and barely missed a third. "We're trying to change the way the world views American soccer."

 

Zack Steffen was the first goalkeeper to be seriously tested, when he was forced to punch away a rasping drive from Trinidad's Khaleem Hyland nine minutes into the contest. But it was Hyland who came off the worst, pulling up lame after his shot, and he was unable to continue, subbed off for Kevin Molino barely 15 minutes into the game.

 

The two sides exchanged chances throughout the first 40 minutes, though neither truly had an edge before Aaron Long broke the deadlock with four minutes to go in the first half. He got his head on the end of a whipped cross from Christian Pulisic, sneaking his effort underneath goalkeeper Marvin Phillip in his first of two goals on the night.

 

And much like the group-stage win over Guyana on Tuesday, Gregg Berhalter's men struggled to dictate the terms of the contest in the first half, only to gain momentum after the interval.

 

Twenty-one minutes into the second half, Zardes scored his second goal of the Gold Cup, when Nick Lima's header across the box fell to the Columbus Crew forward to tap in. He added his second of the night three minutes later, shaping a shot past the outstretched arms of Phillip and into the top corner.


Barely three minutes later, he was denied his hat trick twice in quick succession, first striking the woodwork and then having a header kept out by a point-blank save from Phillip.

 

Pulisic made it 4-0 on 73 minutes, directing the ball into the far corner after substitute Jordan Morris picked him out in acres of space inside the area. Morris added another assist five minutes later, sending a ball across the 6-yard box that Paul Arriola tapped in to make it a 5-0 lead.

 

Long wrapped up the scoring in the 90th minute, beating Phillip to a loose ball in the box and chesting it into a gaping net.

 

"For us, we advance to the next round," Berhalter said. "That's important. Our focus was to prepare for this game knowing that if we'd be able to go to the next round. That was the focus of the group. Trinidad was in our way."

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USMNT vs. Panama: Gold Cup prediction, pick, TV channel, live stream, watch online, time
The U.S. only needs a draw to win the group

 

The United States men's national team's journey at the 2019 Gold Cup continues on Wednesday night with the team's final group stage game against Panama. The U.S. is on the verge of winning the group after a 4-0 win over Guyana and a 6-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago. The Americans are in fine form so far under Gregg Berhalter but now face their biggest test of the cup so far against a 2018 World Cup participant. 

 

Here's how you can watch the match and what to know:

 

Gold Cup: USA vs. Panama

 

Date: Wednesday, June 26

 

Time: 9 p.m. ET

 

Location: Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City

 

TV channel: FS1 and Univision Deportes 

 

Streaming: fuboTV (try for free)

 

Odds: USA -1 (-130) | Panama +1 (+110) | O/U:2.5

 

Storylines

 

USMNT: The U.S. has looked sharp in attack throughout the tournament, and that span of goals in the second half against Trinidad and Tobago was the best we've seen of this team under Berhalter. Expect the squad to try to do the same here with short passes, quick movement and lots of shots.

 

Panama: This team also has six points and is 2-0-0 with wins over Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Panama likely wants to try and avoid Jamaica and get either El Salvador or Curacao, meaning a victory here would be ideal. Six goals over the last two games will give this team confidence.

 

USMNT vs. Panama prediction

 

USA gets off to another hot start and puts it away in the second half with a goal from Gyasi Zardes.

 

Pick: USA 3, Panama 0

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USA vs. Panama, 2019 Gold Cup: What to watch for

The USMNT have a chance to win the group against Panama.

 

The United States Men’s National Team look to wrap up the top spot in Group D in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Wednesday night in Kansas City against Panama. The Americans have looked good at times in big victories against Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, with several players having great performances so far. It’s their first set of competitive matches since they crashed out of World Cup qualifying back in October 2017. However, this is the USMNT’s first real test, and Los Canaleros want to gain confidence by emerging from the match as group winners.

 

Recent Form

 

USA

W (6-0) - Trinidad and Tobago - Gold Cup Group D

W (4-0) - Guyana - Gold Cup Group D

L (0-3) - Venezuela - Friendly

L (0-1) - Jamaica - Friendly

D (1-1) - Chile - Friendly

 

Panama

W (4-2) - Guyana - Gold Cup Group D

W (2-0) - Trinidad and Tobago - Gold Cup Group D

L (0-3) - Uruguay - Friendly

L (0-3) - Colombia - Friendly

D (1-1) - Brazil - Friendly

 

What To Watch For

 

The USMNT need to be relentless. Panama is a team that can hold possession quite well, and that’s going to be a test for the USMNT. They need to be relentless in holding onto the ball and making smart choices as they press forward into the attacking third. Panama will be in quick pursuit, and their midfielders will try to use possession to push forward quickly. The USMNT needs to maintain the pressure to keep Panama on their heels, and be the aggressors.


Finishing needs to be much better. The USMNT will likely not have as many opportunities to score as they did against Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. When they get a chance, they must be clinical with finishing. They don’t want to go forward just to have opportunities wasted. Whoever starts up top needs to lead the charge and finish the chances that are created. If the USMNT doesn’t do that well, it will be a long day for them.

 

Who wants the group? That’s the question of the day. The winner could play El Salvador or Curaçao, while the runner-up could play Jamaica. The USMNT wants to be able to say they were group winners if only to boost the confidence of fans. They want to show that they’re on their way back to being the CONCACAF power, and they want to emerge as another favorite to hoist the trophy. A loss to Panama, and the questions only mount over how far they’ve really come since 2017.

 

Lineup Prediction

 

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has been evasive when asked if he’ll make any changes to his lineup that he sends out to face Panama. In the end, he’s hoping to keep the continuity going, so there may be a couple changes that we see.

 

Screen_Shot_2019_06_25_at_4.25.38_AM.png

 

In goal, Berhalter will remain with Zack Steffen, who hasn’t had to do much work so far in the Gold Cup. On the back line, he remains with Nick Lima in the hybrid right back/center defense midfield position, and Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman continue to be the centerback pairing of choice. The only change on the line is Daniel Lovitz coming in to play left back.

 

In the middle, expect Gregg Berhalter to give Michael Bradley a rest in the middle, allowing Wil Trapp to get the start (and the captain’s armband). Bradley could see some minutes as a substitute late in the match should the USMNT need more possession. Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie should still be in the middle for the United States.

 

The front three have all scored multiple goals for the USMNT in the Gold Cup, so it’s likely that Berhalter lets them all continue to grow together as a unit. Tyler Boyd, Gyasi Zardes, and Paul Arriola will get the opportunity to finish more balls at the net, with Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Lewis coming on as potential late game subs.

 

Match Prediction

 

The USMNT will have their work cut out for them against Panama, and they’re going to be successful if they work hard and take the game to Los Canaleros. They give Panama some hope, but ultimately the USMNT win 2-1 and emerge as Group D winners.
 

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