By Ian S Palmer
Trinidad and Tobago square off against Guatemala in a Group C 2015 Gold Cup match at Soldier Field in Chicago on Thursday, July 9. Both squads are in pretty poor form heading into this encounter as Trinidad is winless in their last five outings with four losses and a draw while Guatemala has a win, three losses and a draw in their past five. Guatemala is currently ranked number 93 in the world by FIFA and is the 10th-ranked team in CONCACAF. Trinidad and Tobago enters the game ranked at 67th in the world and sixth in CONCACAF.
Gold Cup Soccer Betting Preview – Trinidad and Tobago vs Guatemala
- bet365 currently lists Trinidad and Tobago as the favorites to win this match at 13/8 with Guatemala 7/4 and a 90-minute draw at 21/10
Guatemala’s key player will be midfielder Marco Pappa of the MLS’ Seattle Sounders and they’ll also be relying on former MLS forward Carlos Ruiz of Municipal and goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez of Alianza Petrolera. The team is managed by Ivan Sopegno of Argentina, who’s been with Guatemala for slightly more than a year now. The country won the CONCACAF Championship in 1967 on its home soil, but their best finish since it changed to the Gold Cup format was fourth place in 1996. They reached the quarterfinals in 2011, but didn’t qualify for the last tournament in 2013.
There are several Trinidadian players Guatemala will need to watch out for with the best of them being striker Kenwyne Jones of English Championship League side Cardiff City, 23-year-old midfielder/defender Joevin Jones of MLS’ Chicago Fire, and 24-year-old central defender Sheldon Bateau of Belgian club Mechelen. The current manager of Trinidad and Tobago is former Canada boss Stephen Hart, who worked with that country’s national senior team between 2009 and 2012. However, he was let go after the Canadian were trounced 8-1 by Honduras in a 2014 World Cup qualifying game.
Hart hails from Trinidad and Tobago, and led them to the runners-up spot at the 2014 Caribbean Cup after being beaten in a penalty shootout by Jamaica in the Final. Trinidad made it to the knockout stage of the Gold Cup in 2013 and anything less this time around will be seen as a failure. They were eliminated by Mexico in the quarterfinals two years ago by a score of 1-0. The team’s best ever finish in a Gold Cup was reaching the final four in 2000. They also came in second at the CONCACAF Championship back in 1973.
These two teams have met five times in the past in Gold Cup contests with each of them winning once and the other three ending in draws. Overall, they’ve played each other 20 times with Guatemala winning eight, losing six and drawing six.