By Ian S Palmer
The 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal stages continues with another doubleheader on Sunday, July 19 when Trinidad and Tobago takes on Panama at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The winner of this match will then take on the winner of the Mexico vs Costa Rica showdown in the semifinals. If any of the knockout stage games are tied after 90 minutes they will go to 30 minutes of extra time. If there’s still no winner, the contest will be decided by a penalty-kick shootout.
Soccer Betting Preview – Trinidad and Tobago vs Panama
- bet365 currently lists Panama as the favorites to win the game at 11/8 with Trinidad and Tobago 23/10 and a 90-minute draw at 19/10
Trinidad and Tobago ended up winning Group C with seven points from a pair of wins and a draw. They opened their group stage in Chicago on July 9 and beat Guatemala 3-1 and followed it up with a 2-0 shutout over Cuba in Glendale, Arizona. They wrapped up the group on July 15 in Charlotte, North Carolina and pulled off a dramatic and entertaining 4-4 draw against Mexico with a last-minute goal. Trinidad finished the group stage with nine goals for and five against.
Panama advanced to the quarterfinals as one of the Gold Cup’s second-best third-place teams. They kicked their tournament off with a 1-1 draw against Haiti in Dallas. They then drew Honduras 1-1 three days later at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts and finished group play with yet another 1-1 draw. This one was against the USA in Kansas City, Kansas on July 13. Panama gave up late goals in each of their first two games to drop two points in both of them. They completed the group stage with three goals scored and three allowed.
Panama’s best players are getting older as striker Blas Perez is now 34 while Jaime Penedo, Luis Tejada and Luis Henriquez are all 33 and Gabriel Gomez is 31. The team reached the Gold Cup Final two years ago, but were beaten 1-0 in Chicago by the host Americans. Their best performers at the moment are Perez of FC Dallas, midfielder Darwin Pinzon of Sporting San Miguelito, and 23-year-old defender Harold Cummings of Santa Fe. Panama manager Hernan Dario Gomez took over the squad in 2013. The nation finished third in the 2011 tournament and were runners up to the U.S. in 2005 when they lost in a penalty shootout. Five players from the 2005 team are back and 14 from the 2011 squad.
Like Panama, Trinidad has never won the Gold Cup either, but they appear to be in pretty exciting form at the moment, especially when it comes to goalscoring. Veteran striker Kenwyne Jones has been one of the most impressive and effective players in the tournament up to now and is getting plenty of help from his teammates. It may be surprising to some fans that Panama is listed as the betting favorites in this match since Trinidad has the second-most goals in the tournament, one behind Mexico’s 10.
Fans shouldn’t be surprised if Trinidad and Tobago pulls off a mild betting upset here. Trinidad has met Panama 19 times in the past and has beaten them 10 times with four defeats and five draws.