The USA can advance to the quarterfinals of the Copa America Centennial tournament with a win or draw against 44th-ranked Paraguay at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia this Saturday, June 11th. The 31st-ranked Americans got off to a bad start at in the event on June 3rd when they dropped a 2-0 decision to third-ranked Colombia in their opening Group A contest. However, they made up for it with a convincing 4-0 win over 23rd-ranked Costa Rica in their second group match at Soldier Field in Chicago on June 7th. Paraguay played to a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica in their opener and were downed 2-1 by Colombia in their second outing.
USA vs Paraguay – Pinnacle Sports Copa America Soccer Betting Line:
- Pinnacle Sports currently lists the USA as the favorites at +105 with Paraguay +270 and a draw at +240
USA vs Paraguay – Head to Head:
- The two sides have met just six times in the past with each team winning, losing and drawing two games. Their last meeting was in March of 2011 with Paraguay winning 1-0 and the USA has now lost two in a row. The Americans have outscored Paraguay 8-6 in their half dozen encounters.
Colombia has guaranteed themselves a berth in the final eight with their two wins and will be taking on Costa Rica in their third and final group game. They lead the group with six points with the USA in second with three. Paraguay and Costa Rica both follow with one point each. A win for Paraguay will see them advance if Costa Rica doesn’t beat Colombia by a big score, which isn’t likely to happen. Paraguay manager Ramon Diaz has a solid squad of young and veteran players to choose from, but the team lacks a game-breaking star. He has to win this game, so a defensive 4-5-1 formation will be seen as a negative tactic.
The Paraguay back-four is led by 36-year-old Paulo Da Silva, but he’s not as quick as he used to be and could be exploited by the younger, faster Americans. Paraguay’s attacking hopes lie with striker Dario Lezcano who is good in the air and has decent speed. If the U.S. defenders can keep him in line then their chances of advancing look pretty good. The Americans can’t afford to take Paraguay lightly though and need to keep their foot on the gas pedal. Even though a draw is enough to advance, manager Jurgen Klinsmann will be looking for a win and will likely go with a 4-3-3 formation and stick with the same starting 11 he used in the first two games. If any changes are made, look for Darlington Nagbe to take over for 34-year-old midfielder Jermaine Jones to keep Jones fresh for a possible quarterfinal match.
Klinsmann will likely rest a few players later in the game if his side has a decent lead with forward Clint Dempsey being a likely candidate to be substituted. His replacement would likely be either Graham Zusi or Christian Pulisic. Dempsey, Jones, Zusi and Bobby Wood scored against Costa Rica and Klinsmann can’t afford to tinker with his lineup too much as a win or draw isn’t guaranteed here. Paraguay had the lion’s share of ball possession against Colombia and were perhaps unlucky to lose. Klinsmann knows if his squad doesn’t advance from the group stage on Saturday then there’s a good chance he’ll have managed his last game for the USA.
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by Ian S. Palmer