USA vs Panama Odds, Pick, Prediction | Gold Cup Preview

USA vs Panama Odds, Pick, Prediction | Gold Cup Preview article feature image

Jeff Dean/Getty. Pictured: USA soccer.

USA vs Panama Odds

USA Odds-167
Panama Odds+500
Over/Under2.5 (+110 / -143)
Day | TimeWednesday | 7:30 p.m. ET
How To WatchFS1, Univision
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute soccer odds here.

The United States’ attempt to repeat at the CONCACAF Gold Cup continues with a quick turnaround on Wednesday night for a semifinal showdown against Panama.

On Sunday night, the USMNT prevailed on penalties following an enthralling 2-2 quarterfinal draw against Canada, which featured both teams scoring in extra time.

The result marked the first time the United States failed to win a quarterfinal outright since a 2-2 draw against guest side Colombia in 2000.

On Saturday, Panama made surprisingly easy work of guest side Qatar, storming to a 4-0 win behind Yoel Barcenas’ early goal and Ismael Diaz’s second-half hat trick. It’s the Canaleros’ fifth trip to the Gold Cup semifinals since 2005, but their first since appearing in three straight between 2011 and 2015.

While most of the faces will be different this time around, this is one of the most-played high-leverage fixtures in the Gold Cup. This will be the 10th meeting between the sides in this tournament since 2005, including two each in the 2011 and 2015 editions. In 90-minute terms — which is what decides your moneyline wagers — the Americans are 4-1-5 (W-L-D) in that span.

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USA Facing Big Lineup Questions

The first question interim manager B.J. Callaghan has to answer is who will be capable of logging starters’ minutes only three days after being stretched to the brink by Canada.

Tournament scoring leader Jesus Ferreira is among the four field players who went the full 120 minutes for the Americans, as is defensive midfielder James Sands. Those two also lead the USMNT in total minutes played this tournament at 355.

But, there’s multiple pieces of good news for Callaghan to that end.

Substitute striker Brandon Vazquez was easily the most goal-dangerous player for either side once he entered late in the second half. He hasn’t started yet this tournament, but with his goal to open the scoring deep in the second half against Canada and his overall performance, he may have made a convincing case to get the nod on Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, the Seattle Sounders' tandem of Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan have as much experience at this level as anyone on this version of the USMNT squad, and they both came off the bench on Sunday. If Callaghan turns to them ahead of Sunday’s starters on the wings of the 4-3-3 — Alejandro Zendejas and Julian Gressel — he won’t be losing much if any quality.

The USMNT squad have all been able to avoid picking up multiple yellow cards in the tournament so far. The slate is now wiped clean before the semifinal round, meaning the only way a player can be suspended for the final is by being sent off in Wednesday’s match.

Panama a Unique Case in CONCACAF World

Panama’s approach to national team building is different than just about everyone else’s in CONCACAF in recent years, and it’s amassed some fairly impressive results.

For starters, the club profile of the players called in for Los Canaleros continues be among the most — if not the most — diverse of any national side in the region. Panama’s players play in Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, the USA and Venezuela, with a few also in Panama’s domestic top flight.

They’ve also been the most consistent Central American nation in terms of hiring managers from outside their borders. Experienced Colombian Hernan Dario Gomez famously guided the side to their first and to date only World Cup berth in 2018. Danish boss Thomas Christiansen is still at the helm now despite falling narrowly short of qualification for an intercontinental playoff in 2022 while overseeing a generational transition.

Diaz leads the Gold Cup squad with four goals, while Barcenas and Jose Fajardo have two each. Houston Dynamo midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla is the engine that powers the Canaleros. But Anderlecht fullback Michael Murillo — formerly of the New York Red Bulls — seems likely to miss a third straight match with a hamstring issue.

Panama avoided any cautions in their quarterfinal and also won’t be facing any card suspensions for their game against the U.S.

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USA vs Panama Pick

Panama’s Gold Cup path has probably been the easiest of the four semifinalists. But this is basically the same squad that also played quite well in a deceptive 2-0 defeat to Canada’s first-choice team in the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals last month.

If only because of top-end talent like Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David, that Canada squad is better than this current U.S. team contesting the Gold Cup without its similar elite players.

And when you assess what we’ve seen from this U.S. group against opposition of reasonable quality — i.e. Canada and Jamaica — the conclusion is these odds flatter the Americans, especially when factoring the extended minutes of Sunday and the quick turnaround that follows.

That said, I do think the U.S. finds a way to earn a victory in 90 minutes, in part because they still have the edge in quality, and in part because circumstances will force Brandon Vazquez to be on the field longer. The Yanks are also due some good fortune after they were forced to play extra time following a fluky (but correctly awarded) penalty that sent their game against Canada to extra time.

The price on the USA moneyline is too high here. But I can ride with betting on the Americans to win by exactly one goal in 90 minutes over Panama at +250 odds and an implied 28.6% probability. All four of the Americans’ wins over Panama at the Gold Cup since 2005 have come by that single goal.

A hedge on the moneyline draw (+300 via DraftKings) isn't a bad idea either.

Pick: Winning margin – USA by 1 goal (+250 via bet365)

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