By Ian S Palmer
Group C CONCACAF Gold Cup action wraps up at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina with a doubleheader on Wednesday, July 15. The group hasn’t been settled yet as Trinidad and Tobago leads it with six points from a pair of wins while Mexico sits in second place with four points from a win and a draw. Guatemala is in third with a single point from a draw and Cuba occupies the basement with a pair of defeats. This is the third and final group stage game for Group C nations and it also wraps up the group stage of the tournament. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals along with the two best third-place teams.
2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Soccer Betting Preview – Guatemala vs Cuba
- bet365 currently lists Guatemala as the favorites to win this match at 4/11 with Cuba 9/1 and a 90-minute draw at 10/3.
Guatemala managed to pull off somewhat of an upset on July 12 when they parked the bus at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona and battled to a 0-0 draw with Mexico. They also played the last 14 minutes of the match with 10 men in front of 62,910 fans. Guatemala desperately needed the points since they lost their opening match 3-1 against Trinidad and Tobago last Thursday. Guatemala loaded up the defense with five players in the back line while Mexico made a tactical mistake by going with a four-man back line. Mexico didn’t need four players to defend against a lone Guatemalan attacker.
Mexico’s possession stats reached 80 per cent while Guatemala had the ball just 20 per cent of the time. They also outshot Guatemala 19-3 and played with a man advantage when midfielder Jose Contreras was thrown out of the game in the 76th minute with his second yellow card. The point means Guatemala has a good chance of advancing to the knockout stage since they’re taking on Cuba, the group’s weak sister. However, they’re going to have to win the game on the pitch, not on paper.
Cuba was hammered 6-0 by Mexico in their tournament opener last Thursday as the team’s manager and seven players missed the game due to travel problems. They played slightly better against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, but were still shut out as they dropped a 2-0 decision in the first game of the doubleheader in Glendale. If the Cubans can take all three points here against Guatemala they’ll have a slight chance of advancing to the quarterfinals as a third-place team. However, they’re going to have to pick up the pace quite a bit and finally find the back of their opponent’s net.
Against Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba fell behind in the 17th when defender Sheldon Bateau beat Cuban goalkeeper Diosvelis Guerra from six yards out. Cuba created a couple of scoring chances during the remainder of the first half, but Trinidad managed to double their lead in the 42nd minute when midfielder Andre Boucaud scored the game’s final goal from 18 yards out. In their last five meetings, Guatemala has beaten Cuba three times to go along with a loss and a draw.