USA continue their incredible Copa America Centenario campaign with a semifinal clash against Argentina at the NRG Stadium in Houston (9pm ET, Tuesday). Read on for our preview, with betting picks’ predictions.
A 2-1 victory over Ecuador on Thursday night booked the United States’ place in the last four, which is a fine achievement and one that many people would not have expected following their opening day loss to Colombia two and a half weeks ago.
Goals from Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes gave the host nation a 2-0 lead at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. Although USA became extremely nervous once Michael Arroyo had pulled one back for Ecuador in the 74th minute, they still did enough to hang on and secure an impressive win against one of the most in-form CONMEBOL sides – Gustavo Quinteros’ men are currently second in the 2018 World Cup qualifying rankings after winning four of their first six matches.
USMNT Manager Jurgen Klinsmann (pictured) is likely to continue with the 4-4-2 formation that he employed against Ecuador. Right-back DeAndre Yedlin should return to the starting XI after serving a one-match suspension following his red card in the United States’ final Group A game with Paraguay, but Jermaine Jones and Bobby Woods could both miss out because of bans. The United States Soccer Federation has appealed against those decisions, but at the time of writing it is not known whether or not the duo will be available for selection. Centre-halves Geoff Cameron and John Brooks will be hugely important against the best attacking unit in the competition, with goalkeeper Brad Guzan also likely to be very busy against strong match favorites Argentina on Tuesday evening.
Argentina made it through to the semifinals by thrashing Venezuela 4-1 on Saturday. A brace from Gonzalo Higuain and one goal each from Lionel Messi and Erik Lamela ensured the Albiceleste will compete in the last four of the Copa America for the fourth time in the last five editions of the competition.
Argentina have now found the back of the net on 14 occasions in their four games in the United States, with a collection of attackers that includes Higuain, Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria, Nico Gaitan and Ezequiel Lavezzi proving very difficult for opposition defences to contain. There were concerns about the side’s defensive solidity before the tournament got under way at the start of the month, but Argentina have been pretty resolute at the back, with only two goals conceded up to now.
Argentina will line up in a 4-3-3 configuration against the United States, with Gaitan, Higuain and Messi the favorites to start in the forward line. Javier Mascherano will anchor the midfield alongside Augusto Fernandez and Ever Banega, with a back four of Gabriel Mercado, Nicolas Otamendi, Ramiro Funes Mori and Marcos Rojo set to be tasked with repelling the hosts’ attacking efforts. Gerardo Martino has plenty of options on the bench to change the game if it is not going Argentina’s way, with Lamela, Aguero, Lavezzi, Lucas Biglia and Javier Pastore among those who the former Barcelona boss will be able to call upon if his side are in need of a goal at any stage.
Our Preview’s USA v Argentina Betting Picks Verdict
Despite the fact the USA team will be heavily backed by the vast majority of supporters in the NRG Stadium, it is very difficult for this preview to look past a comfortable Argentina victory on Tuesday. The betting picks’ decision is purely the margin of victory. Martino’s men are simply a cut above most other teams in this Copa America Centenario, and they will prove too strong for the hosts if they perform to anywhere near their maximum level.
A 3-1 win for the 14-time Copa champions looks to be the best bet here, while backing Higuain to find the back of the net before anyone else could be another good option.
- Betting Pick: Argentina to beat USA by a correct score margin of 3-1 @ best betting odds of +1050 with Bovada Sportsbook.
- Betting Pick: We also fancy Gonzalo Higuain to be the game’s first goalscorer, a prediction for which, at time of writing, odds are not yet available.