USA faces Ecuador in the quarterfinals of the Copa America Centenario this Thursday, with a place in the last four up for grabs (9.30pm ET). Read on for our match preview with betting picks.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side booked their spot in the knockout rounds with a 1-0 victory over Paraguay at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday evening, with Colombia’s surprise 3-2 loss to Costa Rica seeing the United States take first place in the group.
That was deemed a major positive at the time because it would seemingly allow the hosts to avoid a quarter-final clash with Brazil, who looked set to finish top of Group B. However the five-time world champions fell to a shock 1-0 defeat against Peru on Sunday, a result that saw Dunga’s side dumped out of the Copa America at the group stage for only the second time in the competition’s 100-year history.
Regardless, it has been an excellent response from the United States to their opening-day reverse against Colombia, and their supporters will now be quietly confident of progressing even further as they prepare to take on Ecuador at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
Against Paraguay, Klinsmann kept faith with the 4-4-2 formation that helped his charges overcome Costa Rica in their previous match, and he is likely to employ the same configuration on Thursday. Bobby Wood and Clint Dempsey (pictured) will continue their partnership up front, with energetic central midfielders Jermaine Jones and Bob Bradley set to be relied upon to contribute in both the attacking and defensive phases of play. Right-back DeAndre Yedlin will miss out through suspension after being sent off against Paraguay, but Geoff Cameron and the impressive John Brooks will retain their places at centre-half.
Ecuador advanced to the knockout stage by finishing second in Group B, with their 4-0 thrashing of Haiti sending them through at the expense of Brazil, whom they held to a goalless draw in their opening encounter. They are likely to be in a confident mood ahead of their meeting with the United States. Not only have Gustavo Quinteros’ men successfully negotiated a tough group at the Copa, they were also in excellent form in qualification for the 2018 World Cup in the months before this summer’s competition got under way.
Having used a 4-2-3-1 against both Brazil and Peru, Quinteros opted for a 4-4-2 formation in the defeat of Haiti. He is likely to return to the former against the USA, though, which would theoretically allow his side to dominate the midfield with their extra man in the centre. It is out wide where this Ecuador outfit is most dangerous, with Antonio Valencia and Jefferson Montero full of speed and direct running on the flanks, which helps Los Amarillos to transition from defence to attack quickly. The US will certainly have to be mindful of quick Ecuadorian breaks down the outside.
Our Preview’s USA v Ecuador Betting Picks
There is unlikely to be too much between the teams in this quarterfinal, which means home advantage could be the significant difference that carries the United States over the line. Ecuador certainly have enough talent within their ranks to cause Klinsmann’s charges problems if they are afforded too much space on the counter-attack, but if they can keep things things tight at the back then USA have an excellent chance of recording a victory.
Taking everything into account, this preview’s betting picks’ verdict is that a 2-1 win for the hosts looks to be the best betting option. Dempsey, who has found the back of the net in each of the United States’ last two matches at this Copa America Centenario soccer tournament, is the sensible choice for first goalscorer, although the relatively long odds available on Antonio Valencia means the Manchester United man could be a potentially lucrative outside choice.
- Betting Pick: USA to win in normal time @ best odds of +174 on the moneyline with 5Dimes Sportsbook.
- Betting Pick: United States to beat Ecuador by the correct score of 2-1 @ best betting odds of +900 with Bovada.
- Betting Pick: Bet on Clint Dempsey to be first goalscorer @ best odds of +550 with Bovada.