Gold Cup Odds: Mexico vs. USA Soccer Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 6/24/2011
United States vs. Mexico
Saturday, June 25, 2011, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict that Mexico and the United States would meet in the final of the 2011 Gold Cup. They are clearly the two best teams in the region, and this will be the third straight time they have met in the last match of this tournament. This game will be a rubber match after the Americans won in 2007 and the Mexicans responded with a win in 2009. There is more on the line here than just bragging rights. The winner secures the CONCACAF spot in the 2013 Confederations Cup. That means they get a chance to play in Brazil and try out the World Cup stadiums a year in advance of the 2014 World Cup. Given that neither team is likely to be particularly tested in their pursuit of a World Cup berth that experience could be invaluable.
The Americans probably wish that this game was not being played where it is. While the Americans will have the crowd edge in what should be a full and rowdy 90,000-seat stadium, there will be substantial Mexican representation owing to the large Mexican population in Los Angeles and the proximity to Mexico. Home field advantage -- which is very significant in soccer -- won’t be nearly the factor that it would have been if this game was played in the Northeast.
How They Got Here
The Americans started out with an easy win over an outmatched Canadian squad, but then faltered in a shocking loss to Panama. They didn’t look particularly strong against Guadeloupe, either, as they seemed to shut it down after scoring just nine minutes into the game. They found their stride in the playoffs with a nice win over Jamaica, followed by an avenging win over Panama that wasn’t as close as the 1-0 score suggested.
Mexico was as dominant as a team can be in a tournament like this. They beat El Salvador, Cuba, and Costa Rica in the round robin by a combined score of 14-1. That’s ridiculous. They beat Guatemala, 2-1, in the quarterfinals and Honduras, 2-0, in the semis. That semifinal game was a bit of a wake-up call for the team as they scored both of their goals in penalty time.
Mexico can obviously score, and they have a stunning collection of dangerous talents. Manchester United star Javier Hernandez has seven goals in the tournament, and Aldo de Nigris has four. Giovani dos Santos is explosive, and Pablo Barrera attacks relentlessly.
The Americans will have to score in this one, so the pressure is going to be on the usual suspects of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey. The loss of Jozy Altidore will be felt and could prove fatal. Freddy Adu made an appearance in the Panama game and set up the winning goal. His confidence will grow as a result, and he’s a dark horse to be an offensive factor here.
Mexico can obviously score. They also play surprisingly rigid defense for a team as offensive as this one. Their game is dangerously well rounded.
The Americans are gritty. They have reasonable talent levels, and always seem to find a way to get it done when it matters -- at least when they are playing teams that aren’t as good as they are.
A big problem for both teams is their mental performance. As the Americans showed against Panama and the Mexicans against Honduras, both teams can take things for granted and not play nearly as well as they should against teams that are clearly inferior. That shouldn’t be a problem for either team in this game, though I still have concerns about the sustained focus of both teams -- especially the Americans.
Gold Cup Final Odds
Bodog has Mexico as the +135 favorite with the U.S. at +180 and the draw at +215. The total is set at 2, with the ‘over’ favored at -130. The ‘under’ sits at even money.
Gold Cup Final – Mexico vs. USA Predictions
It’s all about Mexico in my eyes. I was high on the team heading into the last World Cup, and they are only getting better. They are deep, they are offensively potent, and they are hungry. The Americans are in a bit of a transition, and they just aren’t talented enough or varied enough to match up to Mexico if El Tri is determined to score the win. There isn’t a player for the Americans who has played beyond expectations here, and that has been reflected in the overall performance of the team. They quite simply would have to be much, much better than they have been so far to win the tournament, and I don’t have faith in their ability to step up against a very tough opponent. +135 is a great price for the Mexicans.
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