CONCACAF Gold Cup third-place play-off: USA battle plucky Panama


Before the showpiece finale in Philadelphia, there is still the matter of a Gold Cup third-place play-off to settle, as both hosts the United States (1/2 odds-on match favourites over 90 mins with Coral) and Panama look to salvage some pride following semi-final disappointments.

This will be the first Gold Cup clash for third place since 2003, and there is still plenty to play for, with the Stars and Stripes aiming to give home fans something to cheer following their shock defeat to Jamaica, while the Canal Men seek to end a successful campaign in style.

The Red Tide, rank outsiders for victory at 24/5, only narrowly lost out to finalists and Central American rivals Mexico 2-1 in extra time due to a late penalty, so could push Jurgen Klinsmann’s men all the way, with excellent odds of 5/2 for a draw in normal time.

Surprise package Panama snuck into the knockout rounds via a best third-placed finish in the group stages, then navigated safe passage to the semi-finals through a spot kick lottery against Trinidad and Tobago, so will be hoping their luck can see them now snatch another shock win.

The Canal Men do not have an impressive record against the USA, however, winning just one of 15 duels against the North American nation, so it is difficult to see past a triumph for Klinsmann and co, who are a 6/4 shout to win to nil.

USA may have faltered against the Reggae Boyz last time out, but they have still racked up 11 strikes, including a 6-0 rout of minnows Cuba, so are also available for punters to back at 11/4 to score three or more.

Top Stars and Stripes threat Clint Dempsey (7/2 to fire home first) should be the dangerman again, with the former Spurs forward having struck six so far, and as it stands could still end as tournament top scorer.

After twice bagging a brace, Dempsey is 4/1 to grab two or more goals again, while ex-Aston Villa midfielder and USA skipper Michael Bradley hit the consolation against Jamaica and is a tempting 8/1 to have the final say.

As for Panama’s poachers, leading marksman Luis Tejada is suspended so the attacking burden will likely fall to striker Blas Perez (16/5 to be on target anytime) and fellow forward Gabriel Torres (7/2 in the same market), nicknamed ‘Little Ghost’.

Betting tip: dangerous Dempsey is superb value @ 7/2 to draw first blood

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