MLS - NY Red Bulls vs NY City FC - Match Preview

NY Red Bulls vs NY City FC – Match Preview – The New York derby returns for its tenth ever fixture. The City that never sleeps will have the attention of the MLS on Saturday 26th August as both sides are battling to secure a top two position in the Eastern conference.

The ever-competitive New York Red Bulls will be hoping to bounce back following a 2-0 away defeat at the hands of Portland Timbers. However, standing in their way of a crucial three points is an in-form New York City side that has won three matches on the bounce.

Bradley Wright-Phillips can provide a real threat to the NYCFC defence Photo Credit: skysports.com

The (sort-of) hosts for the derby, Red Bulls, often pose as the largest attacking threats in the conference. Striker, Bradley Wright-Phillips, is one of the best documented players in the league and will pose big problems for the New York City defence. The striker scored a brace in their recent US Open Cup tie against Cincinnati; a late equaliser and then the winner in extra time.

Skybet Anytime Goalscorer – Bradley Wright-Phillips to Score Anytime in 90 mins – Evens

Head coach of the Red Bulls, Jesse Marsch, will be hoping to restore the faith of the fans by earning some local pride against their noisy neighbours. The last time these two met, New York City won in a 5-goal thriller with ex-Barcelona star David Villa stealing the headlines with a hat trick for Patrick Vieira’s side.

David Villa has hit the net 19 times this season in the MLS for NYCFC Photo Credit: skysports.com

At the age of 35, David Villa is continuing to score for fun as he is leading the MLS golden boot race with 19 goals and 4 assists. The most experienced player on the pitch will also be the deadliest. Could the Spaniard’s clinical edge provide the difference?

Skybet To Score a Brace – David Villa to Score a Brace – 9/2

Villa and company will widen the gap between them and the competition with a victory on Saturday. New York City currently sit second in the Eastern conference, five points adrift from Chicago Fire in third. Manager, Patrick Vieira, will look to field his strongest side in the hopes that his side can get one over on their city rivals. The bookmakers fancy them to do so.

Skybet Match Result – New York City FC to Win – 5/2

Red Bulls are nowhere near safe in the play-off positions thus far and a defeat on Saturday could see them with their backs against the wall. Columbus Crew, Montreal Impact and Atlanta United are all breathing down their neck in the standings. In front of a home crowd, this is the definition of a big pressure match.

Skybet Correct Score Group Betting – New York Red Bulls to Win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 – 5/1

 

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USA v Jamaica - Match Preview

USA vs Jamaica – Match Preview International tournaments are a rare occurrence. They are the pinnacle of a professional footballer’s career, an opportunity for a player to showcase their abilities on the grandest audiences. Normally to legions of patriotic fans who look on either from the crowd or from a distance, watching their heroes attempt to cement their place in history.

USMNT and surprise package Jamaica will both compete at Levis Stadium, Santa Clara on Thursday morning in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final to do just that.

The Yanks may not hold this competition in the highest regard compared to the World Cup for instance, hence the initial squad excluding a lot of big names like Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey and including younger, more inexperienced players, but make no mistake Bruce Arena’s team definitely want to win this tournament.

The stars switched back into the side at the quarter-final stage, and Clint Dempsey did what he does best to seal Sunday’s 2-0 semi-final victory over Costa Rica with a goal that ties him as the country’s all-time leading goal-scorer with Landon Donovan on 57 strikes.

A quarter-final triumph over El Salvador by the same score-line demonstrates that in a tournament where there has been no single outstanding team, the United States are garnering momentum at the just the right time and are demonstrating championship credentials.

Mexico suffered the ignominy of defeat against Jamaica in the semi-finals, and the United States will do everything in their power to avoid facing the same fate.
The Stars and Stripes are the second most successful side in Gold Cup history with 5 victories, two behind bitter rivals Mexico, and this presents a fantastic opportunity to narrow the gap to a singular title. Not to mention the reward for victory is a guaranteed place in the CONCACAF play-off for the 2021 Confederations Cup.

Kemar Lawrence scored a last minute stunner for Jamaica to progress to the Final Photo Credit:concacaf.com

Jamaica will be inherently aware of that opportunity, by beating Curacao, Canada and Mexico on the way, they have the chance to elevate their underdog story to the highest reaches of the game by beating a CONCACAF superpower like the United States in an international tournament final.
Creating a chance to play against the World’s best at the Confederations Cup is something manager Theodore Whitmore will be desperate to achieve.

This is the second successive final for the Reggae Boyz which is an outstanding achievement, this two-year period has undoubtedly been the greatest in Jamaican history.
Exacting revenge against 2015 winners Mexico in Monday’s semi-final with a resilient 1-0 win illustrates how far they have come. To do so with a wonderful moment of individual brilliance like the free-kick Kemar Lawrence curled into the top corner in the 88th minute makes it so much sweeter.

This final should have an intriguing clash of styles, the Reggae Boyz have only conceded two goals in the entire tournament and will set up to force the United States, who like to attack and are the tournament’s highest scorers with a total of 11 goals so far, to dominate possession and break them down.

The United States are unquestionably massive favourites to claim their sixth CONCACAF Gold Cup crown but do not rule Jamaica out one bit – they have already conquered Mexico and have glory in their sights.

CONCACAF Gold Cup Final - USA vs Jamaica - Match Preview

Clint Dempsey could become USA’s all time top goalscorer with a goal in the CONCACAF Final Photo Credit: skysports.com

Player to Watch
Clint Dempsey is an USMNT legend, nothing will ever change that. However, he has an opportunity to enhance that legacy on Thursday by scoring the goal that will place him as his country’s record goal-scorer and with a penchant for finding the net when it matters, you wouldn’t bet against him doing it. The ex-New England Revolution, Fulham, Spurs and Seattle Sounders forward is seeking his third CONCACAF Gold Cup against the team who he began his international career against, with a debut v Jamaica 13 years ago in 2004. He has since made a total of 136 appearances for the United States and it would be a special moment for all involved to see him score the winner.

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Curacao vs Mexico - Match Preview

Curacao vs Mexico – Match Preview – Curacao will face Mexico in the final round of the group fixtures at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Mexicans participated to a bore draw with Jamaica in their previous outing meaning that progression to the next round isn’t a certainty despite currently leading Group C. Curacao suffered a second successive 2-0 defeat, this time to El Salvador. Having conceded two goals in the first half hour, the Caribbean’s were unable to convert a 44th minute penalty; a coincidence that has summed up their Gold Cup campaign so far. That 2-0 defeat means Curacao will take the field for the final time at the tournament, whilst their opponents still have it all to play for with El Salvador and Jamaica breathing down their necks.

The Mexicans dominated their last match against the Jamaicans but were unable to convert their furiously superior possession into clear goal scoring chances. The Central Americans only managed three shots on target all match with a total of 73% possession; a statistic that reflects upon the inexperience of this fresh-faced Mexican side.

Manager, Juan Carlos Osario, will look to alter his sides tactics yet again in their bid for qualification to the knockout stages; after trialling an ineffective 4-4-2 that baffled a lot of supporters after Mexico’s previous success in a 4-3-3 formation in their curtain raiser. The bookmakers are expecting the Mexicans to come out victorious in this showdown, where a point will be enough to see them qualify through. Will Osario’s men come out on top?

Skybet Correct Score Betting – Mexico to Win 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 – 11/4

Curacao will be bitterly disappointed with how their Gold Cup campaign has panned out. After a poor showing in their first match, things didn’t get any better for Ramko Bicentinni’s side who replicated their previous score line, proving unclinical in front of goal and unstable in their backline. With little to no expectations laid out for the Caribbean side before the tournament began, it’s safe to say that Curacao have not impressed and have been frustrating viewing for many impartial fans. With their qualification chances already out the window, Mexico should prove too much for the small island, however this tournament can provide shocks.

Skybet Match Result – Curacao to Win – 16/1

Team News

Neither side has any injuries or suspensions ahead of Monday’s fixture.

When these two met in 1970, Mexico won 7-0. Will another thrashing be on its way for Curacao?

 

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USA vs Panama - Match Preview

USA vs Panama – Match Preview- The United States kick-off their Gold Cup by facing Panama at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, hoping to reclaim the crown from Mexico.

Hosts for every tournament since the Gold Cup’s inception in 1991, the United States have a level of expectation on their shoulders. The winner of this tournament faces the previous winner of this tournament in a play-off match to reach the Confederations Cup – a massive prize for teams in this competition.

This expectation is heightened based on the fact USMNT are one of only three teams to ever win the title (alongside Canada and Mexico) and only one of two to ever be victorious more than once (five times, with Mexico’s seven).

The Stars and Stripes are second favourites for this year’s edition behind arch-rivals Mexico, and Bruce Arena will be raring to capture his first title since his return as United States manager. His side face a tricky opening task to start in winning ways against overachievers Panama. In fact, this fixture is a repeat of the 2013 final – where USMNT came away with a 1-0 and the trophy.

Panama will not be taken lightly, and in fact have a rather incredible record in this competition in recent times relative to their population size and general footballing stature.

Los Canaleros have reached the quarter-finals or better in all 6 CONCACAF Gold Cups since 2005, and reached the semi-finals in each of the last three tournaments, finishing in third place in 2015 after a victory over the United States in the 3rd place play-off on penalty kicks. Also, as mentioned above Panama were runners-up (to the same opponents) in 2013 – an astounding achievement.

Ominously though, Los Canaleros have only ever beaten USMNT once in normal play, in the 2011 Gold Cup Group Stage. Could a shock be on the cards?

Dom Dwyer celebrates with team mate Acosta Photo Credit: The Canadian Press

Team News 
U.S soccer has one true wonderkid in its ranks at present, Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic. However, the highly-rated midfielder hasn’t been named in Bruce Arena’s squad so will rely on other creative forces such as Dax McCarty and Gyasi Zardes alongside new faces such as forward Dom Dwyer and uncapped Cristian Rolden. Familiar faces in the 23 include Erik Lichaj of Nottingham Forest and ex-Aston Villa and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Gabriel Gomez is Panama’s all time record appearance holder Photo Credit: MexSport

Panama’s team will be reliant on stalwarts such as all-time record appearance maker Gabriel Gomez in midfield (132 caps), Toronto’s Armando Cooper (86 caps) and San Jose Earthquakes’ Anibal Godoy (77 caps).

Full squads

United States:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (New York City FC)

DEFENDERS (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca, MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest, ENG), Matt Miazga (Chelsea, ENG), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna, MEX), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana, MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana, MEX), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Chris Pontius (Philadelphia Union), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)

FORWARDS (3): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC)

Panama:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jose Calderon (CD Marathon, HON); Orlando Mosquera (Tauro FC, PAN); Alex Rodriguez (San Francisco FC, PAN)

DEFENDERS (8): Roberto Chen (Deportivo Arabe Unido, PAN); Eric Davis (FC DAC 1904 DunajskA Streda, SVK); Fidel Escobar (Unattached); Roderick Miller (Atlético Nacional, COL); Michael Amir Murillo (New York Red Bulls, USA); Luis Ovalle (Unattached); Angel Patrick (Deportivo Arabe Unido, PAN); Jan Carlos Vargas (Tauro FC, PAN)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Edgar Yoel Barcenas (Cafetaleros de Tapachula, MEX); Miguel Camargo (New York City FC, USA); Armando Cooper (Toronto FC, CAN); Anibal Godoy (San Jose Earthquakes, USA); Gabriel Gomez (Atlético Bucaramanga, COL); Leslie Heraldez (Deportivo Arabe Unido, PAN); Josiel Nuñez (CD Plaza Amador, PAN); Valentin Pimentel (CD Plaza Amador, PAN)

FORWARDS (4): Abdiel Arroyo (Danubio FC, URU); Ricardo Clarke (Unattached); Ismael Diaz (FC Porto, POR); Gabriel Torres (FC Lausanne-Sport, SUI)

 

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