United States vs. Panama
The other CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinal is a rematch of the group stages; USA looks to avenge their 2-1 loss when they take on Panama at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
USA is coming off a 2-0 win over Jamaica, in a match where they didn’t start talisman Landon Donovan. The US did a good job of slowing The Reggae Boyz down, taking them out of their comfort zone as time went on. They especially gave Defender Jermaine Taylor problems, as he both scored an own goal and was given a red card. However the red card was a con job by USA Midfielder Jermaine Jones, where he clearly took a dive. Coach Bob Bradley will now have his full compliment of players to work with, and hopefully they have learned something from their first encounter with Panama. Key players will be Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey and Juan Agudelo, especially Juan Agudelo as Jozy Altidore was substituted in the last match due to injury and may not play in this one as a result. USA will be out to prove that the first loss was an anomaly, but if they are to do so then the defense has to be better. If there is one weak point of this team it’s at the back, they constantly need to be bailed out by either the goalkeeper of defensive midfield.
As for Panama, they are coming off a win over El Salvador in another match that was decided on penalties. This team has proven to be the surprise package of the competition, but is dealt a huge blow going into this match, as influential Forward Blas Perez will be out due to red card suspension. Coach Julio Dely Valdés will need to rely on some of the other playmakers and leaders if they are to pull this off for the second time, the likes of Gabriel Gómez, Luis Tejada and Felipe Baloy will need to step forward. Panama will need to mix up the way they attack even more, as USA will be much more prepared and vigilant this time around.
I’ll go with the over in this match, USA will not be taking Panama lightly this time around and Panama won’t be sneaking up on anyone. Also both teams have their defensive issues, the one aspect that may stop the over from happening is the play of Tim Howard.