For the first game in what one has to assume is the post Landon Donovan era, this was not a particularly encouraging performance. Deprived not only of the discarded Donovan, but also of injured captain Clint Dempsey, the USA team laboured against a side ranked over 60 places below them in the world. The 2-0 scoreline was only achieved thanks to goals in the last ten minutes from Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson against the tired Azeris.
Dempsey’s groin injury is not thought to be serious, and he may even return to the team for Sunday’s match with Turkey. Nonetheless, the size of the task facing Jurgen Klinsmann’s men in Brazil is revealed just by considering the two goalscorers in this game: Diskerud – who wore Donovan’s number ten shirt – played most of his football in Norway, and Johannsson, who played most of his in Iceland. Neither was good enough to challenge for a post in those two sides, and neither of those sides will be in Brazil.
The game against Turkey will be a much tougher proposition. At the moment, there is plenty of value in betting on that game, with the hosts currently 2.55 to win with sportsbook Bwin, and Turkey 2.88 at Paddy Power, the draw being priced at 3.4 by Bet365. On this performance, a narrow Turkish win looks to be the way to go, a 1-0 result being on offer at 9.0 with BetVictor.
Nothing in this performance suggested any reason to change betting strategy for the World Cup, at least so far as the USA are concerned. Back them to be eliminated at the group stage at 1.29 with YouWin, and to fail to pick up a point, which is 8.0 with Bwin.