Stars & Stripes look to move a step closer to defending their crown
Gold Cup holders the United States will go into their semi-final clash against Jamaica riding the crest of a wave thanks to their 6-0 demolition of a poor Cuba team in the quarter-finals.
For Jurgen Klinsmann and his men, nothing less than successfully defending the crown they won on home soil in 2013 will do and at 4/9 they are runaway favourites to sweep Jamaica aside in Atlanta on Wednesday and book their final place to see the Reggae Boyz fall at the last-four stage for the third time in the competition.
The hosts have won their last three matches against their semi-final opponents, with Jamaica’s last victory coming in a World Cup qualifying match in 2012. That, along with home advantage, should give them an extra boost on top of the freescoring form they carry into the match.
Klinsmann has kept faith with plenty of veteran players after many expected him to shake things up following last summer’s World Cup in Brazil. That decision may not be good for the long-term but it has certainly helped see the experienced USA through this year’s Gold Cup with ease so far.
One of those veterans is former Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur man Clint Dempsey has been the star attraction, netting a hat-trick in the quarter-final and three more in the group stage. Captain Michael Bradley has been the man providing the ammunition for the 32-year-old and Dempsey looks a good bet to open the scoring on Wednesday night.
For Jamaica, a 1-0 scoreline has successfully seen them through their last three matches in the competition and if Winfried Schafer’s men are to cause a big upset in Atlanta they will need another solid defensive performance to shut the U.S. out while nicking a goal at the other end. A fourth successive 1-0 win brings odds of 12/1 if you fancy a bet on the outsider.
Former Derby County and West Brom attacker Giles Barnes scored the goal to send Jamaican through to the last four with a 1-0 win against Haiti and he will know all about some of his opponents on Wednesday thanks to his performances in the MLS with Houston Dynamo.