Sunday, July 24, 2005

Gold Cup Final prediction

Where is Bruce Arena's team? For that matter, where is Bruce Arena?

The US side will be without their coach due to his ejection against Honduras, but he won't be lonely. The US will be without the services of defenders Eddie Pope and Steve Cherundolo, midfielder Pablo Mastroeni or forward Conor Casey. So will the US still be able to compete under assistant coach Glenn “Mooch” Myernick? My answer is Donovan, Beasley and O’Brien. I'm sure the US will come out in full attack mode, hoping to get a couple of early goals and then force Panama to do something they have not done well, play catch-up.

As for Panama, if they want to win this, they need goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and their back line to step it up big time. If they can frustrate the US attackers with offside calls and the such, they will have a chance of sneaking out with the cup. However, if the US does get a few goals in the first 30 minutes or so, they will need all the luck that Luis Tejada can bring them. If they go down by even one goal, I think it will be extremely difficult for them to win.

On a side note, it will be interesting to see if the crowd is more pro-US or Panama. It is a bit embarrassing to play a match on your home field and not have crowd advantage.

My prediction: US 3 - Panama 1


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