Team USA Can Win Gold Cup Group with Victory Over Nicaragua

usa soccer

Martin Green

Thursday, July 13, 2017 4:12 PM GMT

The USA faces Nicaragua in its final CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage game Saturday and needs a win to top the group and get a favorable draw for the knockout stage. Nicaragua is winless in the competition and should provide little to threaten a USA victory.

The USA faces Nicaragua in its final CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage game Saturday in Cleveland and can claim Group B with a victory. Bruce Arena’s young and experimental side has not quite hit the heights expected of it yet, so this will be a good chance to boost their confidence against meek opposition.

It is two defeats in two games in the Gold Cup for Nicaragua, which suffered a 2-1 reverse against Panama and also had to contend with the ignominy of losing 2-0 to the tiny island nation of Martinique. Nicaragua is destined to go home before the knockout stage and only playing for pride, but that is unlikely to be enough to get them a result against the USA.

Arena is not prioritizing this tournament and left most of his top players behind for it. Some, like star midfielder Christian Pulisic, play in Europe and have to be in preseason training for their clubs, so it is an inopportune time of year to host an international competition. But it also presents Arena with an opportunity to test out many young MLS players and plenty of talented guys who have never really had a look in when it comes to representing their country.

So far success levels have been mixed. The USA started by drawing with Panama, something that has become a regular occurrence in recent times, and then went on to beat Martinique 3-2. It sits joint top of the group, along with Panama, which beat Nicaragua 2-1.

The USA is not really behaving like the second favorite for this tournament. Martinique is not even a member of FIFA, but it managed to overturn a two goal deficit against Arena’s team -- and only a late Jordan Morris strike could save the USA from a serious embarrassment. Drawing with Panama is not too bad a result, as it has a stubborn defense, but it is not exactly going to send shivers of fear reverberating around rival dressing rooms. The players who are usually selected for the USA national team will not be too worried about keeping hold of their places ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia just yet.

Morris has been dangerous and Dom Dwyer’s pace made him a threat to Panama, but overall the USA has been tentative and the players Arena has selected have not gelled together particularly well. They need a resounding win to boost their confidence, and Nicaragua is the perfect opponent against which to achieve that. After losing to Martinique it proved itself the poorest team at this tournament, and if the USA does not win by two clear goals in will be considered another bad result.

As such the USA is just -500 to win this match at Betway and that is the best price you can get (others are offering -800). To get any value out of this game you will have to look at handicap betting. The lowest handicap any sportsbook is offering is USA -2, which is -102 at Betvictor. That is a tall order considering Panama could only beat Nicaragua by a single goal. A better option might be the +115 Betway is offering on USA to win the match and 'under' 3.5 goals. Poor as it has been, there have not yet been more than 3.5 goals in either of Nicaragua’s games. Nor did either of USA’s games see more than 3.5 goals, and USA really should win it -- so that might be the best option right now.

Free Soccer Pick: USA Win & 'Under' 3.5 (+115)Best Line Offered: Betway