USA will make sure of their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa America Centenario with a win over Paraguay this weekend, although a draw could see them through depending on other results (7pm ET, Saturday). Read on for our match preview with betting picks’ predictions.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side were under pressure going into their last encounter against Costa Rica after being defeated in their opening game with Colombia. That first match was rather even in many respects, the United States going down courtesy of a goal from a set-piece and a penalty kick. It still left them staring the prospect of an early elimination in the face when they took to the field to take on their fellow CONCACAF representatives on Tuesday.
The response was magnificent, however, Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, Bobby Wood (pictured) and Graham Zusi all finding the back of the net as Costa Rica were thumped 4-0. Qualification to the knockout stage is now back within the United States’ hands, with a point on Saturday evening likely to be enough to send them through in second place in Group A.
Paraguay head into this encounter knowing nothing less than a win will do if they are to proceed to the last eight. A goalless draw with Costa Rica in their opening outing was followed by a 2-1 loss to group leaders Colombia earlier this week, leaving the Albirroja with just a single point to their name after two matches.
Although manager Ramon Diaz hinted before the competition began that he planned to use the Copa America Centenario as a way to blood some young players and build towards September’s round of World Cup qualifier, he will still be disappointed by that return and desperate for his team to overcome the hosts at Lincoln Financial Field and reach the knockout stage of the Copa America for the fifth consecutive edition of the tournament.
The big question mark about the US ahead of this pivotal game surrounds which formation Klinsmann will employ. Having lined up in a 4-3-3 against Colombia a week ago and having begun the Costa Rica clash in the same shape, the German switched to a 4-4-2 in the first half against Los Tico, with Wood joining Dempsey at the top of the pitch. The resounding victory over Costa Rica suggests that Klinsmann will once more opt for two up front against Paraguay this weekend, although he may deem that configuration to be too open for a situation in which the USA simply need to avoid defeat to advance.
Paraguay, meanwhile, could move back to a 4-2-3-1 after deploying a narrow 4-2-2-2 in the 2-1 defeat by the Colombians. Oscar Romero’s sending-off for two bookable offences in that match means he will miss the meeting with the hosts in Philadelphia. Midfielder Victor Ayala may have earned himself a place in Diaz’s starting XI after scoring Paraguay’s first – and, at the time of writing, only – goal in the tournament against Colombia. Juan Iturbe, the Roma winger once labelled the next Lionel Messi who spent much of the second half of the 2015/16 European season on the bench at Bournemouth, has played only a single minute in the competition so far.
Our Preview’s USA v Paraguay Betting Picks
Taking everything into account, it is worth backing the United States to extend their winning run by beating Paraguay on Saturday evening. The momentum appears to be with the hosts – who will again be backed by a vociferous home crowd – at present, and the fact that Paraguay need all three points to qualify for the next stage means there should be ample space for Klinsmann’s charges to exploit on the counter-attack. A 2-1 USA victory, with Bobby Wood scoring the first goal of the game could be the way to go for this one.
- Betting Pick: Our prediction is that United States will win this match @ +115 on the moneyline with BetOnline Sportsbook.
- Betting Pick: If you want to back the correct score margin, then this preview expects the score to be 2-1 which can be bet @ odds of +750 with Bovada.
- Betting Pick: Take Bobby Wood to be the game’s first goalscorer @ best odds of +600 with Bovada.