By Ian S Palmer
The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup moves to the semifinal stage on Wednesday, July 22 when co-hosts USA take on Jamaica at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in the first game of a doubleheader. Mexico will be taking on Panama in the nightcap and the two winners will meet in the Gold Cup Final on Sunday, July 26 in Philadelphia. The two losers will play in the third-place match on July 25 in Chester. The Americans advanced to the final four after thumping Cuba 6-0 in their quarterfinal clash in Baltimore, Maryland on July 18. Jamaica managed to beat 1-0 at the same venue to advance. If any knockout stage game is tied after 90 minutes it will go to 30mkinutes of extra time and then a penalty-kick shootout if it’s still not decided.
2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal Betting Preview – USA vs Jamaica
- bet365 currently lists the USA as the favorites to win the game at 2/5 with Jamaica 9/1 and a 90-minute draw at 3/1
- The USA and Jamaica have met 22 times in the past with the Americans have a decided edge with 13 wins, just one loss and eight draws. Jamaica’s lone win was a 2-1 result in a World Cup qualifier in 2012.
During the group stage, the U.S. captured Group A with seven points from a pair of wins and a draw. They opened their tournament with a 2-1 win over Honduras in Dallas, Texas on July 7 and followed that up with a 1-0 win over Haiti at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts three days later. The U.S. then wrapped up their group play with a 1-1 draw against Panama in Kansas, City, Kansas on July 13. The Americans scored four goals in group play and allow two against.
In the quarterfinals, it was all the USA as they dominated from start to finish and were helped out by former captain Clint Dempsey’s hat trick. Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders now has half a dozen goals to his name at this year’s tournament and is a good bet to win the Golden Boot award as the event’s top scorer. U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann wasn’t exactly happy with his team’s performances in the group stage and made three changes to the roster entering the quarterfinals. Klinsmann brought in defender DaMarcus Beasley of the Houston Dynamo, forward Alan Gordon of the Los Angeles Galaxy and midfielder Joe Corona of Club Tijuana.
In doing so, the manager dropped Greg Garza, Alfredo Morales and forward Jozy Altidore of Toronto FC. Klinsmann was able to do this since all eight quarterfinalists were allowed to change their 23-man rosters within 24 hours of the conclusion of group play. These additions must come from the teams’ 35-man preliminary roster. While the 6-0 drubbing of Cuba makes it looks like Klinsmann made the right moves, let’s not forget Cuba was the weakest of the eight quarterfinalist sides and were missing several players due to defection.
Jamaica won their quarterfinal match 1-0 over Haiti in Baltimore on a sixth-minute goal by Giles Barnes after topping Group B in the group stage. They managed to win the group with seven points from a pair of wins and a draw and scored four goals while conceding two. Jamaica opened up their group play with a 2-2 draw against Costa Rica at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on July 8. They headed to Houston, Texas three days later and secured a spot in the knockout stage with a 1-0 win over co-host Canada. Jamaica took all three points courtesy of a late goal in second-half injury time. The Jamaicans then wrapped up their group play at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada with a 1-0 victory over El Salvador on July 14.