Sweet Underdog Value On USMNT At Clash With A Wounded Panama

Clint Dempsey

Martin Green

Sunday, March 26, 2017 2:29 PM GMT

USMT got their World Cup 2018 qualification bid back on track in style by hammering Honduras on Friday, and they will be full of confidence going into their next game. Bruce Arena’s men travel to Panama on Wednesday and should make it two wins out of two for the new coach.

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The USA got their World Cup 2018 qualification bid back on track in style by hammering Honduras on Friday, and they will be full of confidence going into their next game. Bruce Arena’s men travel to Panama on Tuesday and should make it two wins out of two for the new coach.

Towards the end of 2016 it was all doom and gloom for the USA men’s soccer team after back-to-back defeats in their opening two games in their qualification group. Losing 2-1 at home to Mexico was a bad result, but losing 4-0 against Costa Rica was inexcusable and Jurgen Klinsmann, once seen as untouchable, was shown the door. The federation responded quickly and brought back the USA’s most successful manager of all time, Arena, for a second stint in charge.

So far the signs are extremely positive. The team went into a crunch game knowing they had to win as they were bottom of the group with zero points, and in danger of missing out on attending the World Cup for the first time in more than 30 years. We backed them to do it, suggesting you go USA –1 Asian handicap. They covered that, and then some. The final scoreline read USA 6-0 Honduras. It was a demolition job. Forget the misery of the end of Klinsmann’s tenure. This is a good USA team, which should qualify for the World Cup in Russia, no sweat.

Bringing back Clint Dempsey was a masterstroke from Arena. Even at the ripe old footballing age of 34, the former Fulham and Tottenham star is still head and shoulders better than Jozy Altidore, who endured a woeful spell in the Premiership. Dempsey has the clinical finishing ability, the movement off the ball and the intelligence to put far better teams to the sword than Honduras. He finished with a hat-trick, and was ably supported by Christian Pulisic and Michael Bradley.

Bradley banged in a screamer from 25 yards, leading the way as captain. Pulisic was a class above, the best player on the pitch. It was an outrageously dominant performance from Arena’s team, so easy for the USA, as evidenced by them walking up the field and scoring straight from the kick-off for the second half. The result catapulted the USA up to fourth in the six-team group, just one point behind Panama in third. While they were thrashing Honduras, Panama lost 1-0 to Trinidad & Tobago, a team previously winless in the group. It was a shockingly bad result for Panama against a tiny country.

The USA should have far too much for Panama. With a spine of Tim Howard, Geoff Cameron, Pulisic and Dempsey, they should easily finish in the top two of their qualification group along with Mexico. This is highly likely to be another easy win. That makes the odds on a straight USA win look absolutely amazing. You can get +115 on a USA win with William Hill, which looks a fantastic price.

The USA are ranked 30th in the world, compared to Panama in 53rd, but the gulf in class is actually greater than that suggests. Confidence should also play a factor: the USA will be riding the crest of a wave after that 6-0 win, while Panama will be in the doldrums after losing to Trinidad & Tobago. The odds are so attractive that you do not even need to think about handicaps for the USA. Just a straight win at that price looks a really good bet. If they play even half as well as they did against Honduras, they should win it with ease. 

Free Soccer Pick: USA +105Best Line Offered: at SportsInteraction

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