USA began their Copa America Centenario campaign with a game against Colombia and they will end it the same way as the two nations contest a play-off for third place this weekend (8pm ET, Saturday). Read on for our match preview with betting picks’ predictions.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side’s hopes of reaching the final on home soil were ended this week, with Argentina running out 4-0 winners when the two teams went head-to-head at the NRG Stadium in Houston. The United States did not even manage a single shot on goal throughout the 90 minutes as they were demolished by Tata Martino’s men, who once again showed why their abundance of attacking riches is the envy of most national teams on the planet.
Facing opponents of such strength means it is somewhat difficult to judge the USMNT, but it is certainly true to say that the manner of their performance was extremely disappointing – arguably more so than the scoreline itself. They will therefore be desperate to respond in positive fashion – and also to avenge the 2-0 defeat Colombia inflicted upon them in the aforementioned curtain-raiser – particularly as Klinsmann has come under increasing pressure since the US were knocked out.
Colombia, meanwhile, were sent packing by Chile in the second semifinal clash of the week. They were second best throughout that clash with the holders and never really looked like recovering from going two goals down early on, with strikes from Charles Aranguiz and Jose Pedro Fuenzalida in the first 11 minutes denting Colombia’s confidence and giving Chile a healthy advantage that they refused to relinquish.
After starting the competition brightly, Jose Pekerman’s side have looked more and more vulnerable as it has gone on, with a penalty shoot-out required to overcome a young Peru side in the last eight and Chile outclassing them at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday. A run to the semifinal will probably be reflected upon positively once the dust has settled, but Colombia’s style of football has been rather uninspiring for the majority of the tournament.
It remains to be seen whether Klinsmann will name his strongest starting XI or rotate his line-up to allow those who have not received much playing time up to now an opportunity to shine. In normal circumstances the latter would be more likely, but the German may opt for the former given that his job could be on the line. That should mean the likes of Clint Dempsey, John Brooks, Michael Bradley, Geoff Cameron and DeAndre Yedlin retaining their places in the team, although veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard and talented teenager Christian Pulisic could both be handed starts.
Colombia boss Pekerman faces a similar predicament, with the Argentine forced to decide whether to name his strongest team or give some of the younger members of his squad a chance. The exciting Marlos Moreno (pictured) could be included in the XI after catching the eye in cameo appearances throughout the competition, while AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca is likely to return to the side in place of Racing frontman Roger Martinez, who began the semifinal against Chile. Star men James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado should also be present in the line-up as Colombia seek to secure third spot.
Our Preview’s United States vs Colombia Betting Picks
Taking everything into account, a narrow Colombia victory could be the best betting option for Saturday evening’s third place play-off.
The United States may struggle to bounce back from such a crushing loss to Argentina. While they will be keen to end the tournament they have hosted on a positive note, Colombia simply possess greater quality within their squad and have the capacity to beat USA if they perform to their maximum level.
Our preview’s verdict is that a tight 1-0 victory could be worth backing, with the prediction that talented young winger Moreno may prove a good choice for anytime goalscorer, if that betting market appears with the USA sportsbooks for this match.