Thursday, June 21, 2018

Copa America – USA vs Colombia

The United States opens the ceremonial Centenario Edition of the Copa America as hosts of the event, and are listed as co-favorites along with Colombia to take group A both listed at +150 to take the top spot.

At what is now the home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, USA and Columbia will open the tournament at Levi’s Stadium, in Santa Clara, California, at 6:30 pm PT.

The USMNT and Columbia are each listed at +150 to take the top spot in the group, with this being the pivotal match that will directly affect how it all shapes up, and both teams enter the match with some controversy surrounding them.

Jurgen Klinsmann will basically be answering to the American media for any move he makes, with each outlet sure to crucify him when the team does poorly, but yet offer a world of praise for big wins, like the ones they earned against Germany and Holland in recent friendlies. It is well-documented that his relationship with MLS and its hierarchy (who we will just refer to as Don Garber in fact), has not made it any easier to work in sync to put a quality product together. The two need to co-exist to bring soccer to the next level, and without a joint conglomeration to take the sport to the next level in the States, we may never truly see success at major International competitions, such as this Copa America.

Hosting the event is certainly going to create big crowds at each of their group stage sites, that also includes Soldier Field in Chicago, and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, but that also lifts expectations to another level that this team has not had the pressure of fulfilling.

The line setters have gone in all sorts of directions since the groups were announced and the lines came out, and most of the action seemed to come right after the final 23-man rosters were submitted on May 20.

Should Tim Howard get the nod, or has Brad Guzan earned the job as the starting keeper?

Jozy Altidore is officially injured, and many were calling for the addition of Jordan Morris to the squad, but that never came to fruition.

Can Clint Dempsey keep his composure? Remember folks, the last time we saw Mr. Dempsey in a similar competition came in the U.S Open Cup last year, and we all know how that turned out, right? Suspended for three MLS games at the time, and also unable to appear in Cup play for two years, for embarrassing himself against Portland, ripping the refs scorecard in half, and tossing it gently into the night sky…. yeah, that Clint Dempsey!

Christian Pulicic as an option up front left a few questions to answer with his limited experience at the International level, despite a decent history with the U-15 and U-17 teams.

On the Columbia side of the pitch, the first big omission from José Pékerman’s preliminary roster was Radamel Falcao, who was told he was not going to be invited to help the squad this year at all, and he may not be taking part in World Cup qualifying either.

In his place is a more than respectable ‘youngster’ named James Rodriguez. The #10 for Real Madrid just aided the Spanish Club to a Champions League title. Some call him a youngster, but we call him a young stud! In 42 appearances, Rodriguez has scored 14 goals, after leading all goal-scorers in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Columbia will resume World Cup CONMEBOL qualifying in September, for match day 7 of 18 overall that will be played. The team currently sits in the fifth, and sit in the only spot that would require a playoff round to advance to Russia to compete on the biggest stage of all in the beautiful game.

There is very limited experience on Columbia’s 23-man roster, with only vice-captain and goalkeeper David Ospina, along with Carlos Sanchez, with over 50 Caps with the national team.

Losing forward Jackson Martinez to injury does not help the front line in any fashion, being that both Roger Martinez and Marlos Moreno have about 5 Caps under their belt that will be playing behind Carlos Bacca and Dayro Moreno, who themselves barely combine for over 50 Caps.

Columbia did score three goals in their final tune-up for the Copa against Haiti, and Martinez was responsible for the third goal in the 72′ minute, and the American’s know him well. Even though the Olympics are now an U-23 event, Martinez was largely responsible for the United States being knocked out of Olympic qualifying this past March, scoring both goals in a 2 – 1 win for the U-23 Columbia team.

In essence, he is also responsible for being the reason that the United States will fail to appear in the Games twice in their last three attempts to qualify for the Olympics.

With all that said, it is time to break out the opening prediction for the Copa America, and there is not one, not two, but three offers on the board for you to take advantage of in this match.


For the European users who have the option of BTTS, there is the Both to Score Prop, pointing to YES @ -105.

For almost anyone, anywhere, you should have these two options readily available, and I suggest using them as well.

The Over 2 & 2.5 Handicap @ +105 and…..
The USA 0/Pk DNB HC @ +105 (Draw no Bet)

USA wins 2 – 1 to start the competition with the crowd making the difference in my opinion, and this will also lead me to suggest the +150 on the USMNT to take group A at +150.

All reasonable lines, all reasonable offers, and hopefully, all reasonably cashed in tickets! Why?

#BecauseFutbol !!!

Be sure to check my twitter feed @Ejtherainmaker to find video previews of the United States team profile, along with Chile, Argentina, and Brazil as well, where you can also subscribe to my YouTube page.

Enjoy the Copa everyone, and be sure to check out all of the Diamond Sportsbook pages that I have created pertaining to both the Copa America and Euro 2016 tournaments.

About EJ the Rainmaker

EJ Garr has been a freelance sports writer and handicapper for more than 20 years. He appeared as a featured writer in Beckett's Magazine for the 2014 World Cup. An experienced radio host, he also lends his voice to the radio shows on the Sports Palooza Radio Network, which includes a weekly segment dedicated to the NY Cosmos.

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