Friday's first Copa America quarter-final looks set to be a low-scoring affair.
The USA’s 1-0 win over Paraguay was enough to see them top Group A on goal difference ahead of Colombia and as a result they make the long trip from Philadelphia on the East Coast to Seattle on the West, where they play Ecuador. Gustavo Quinteros’ men were emphatic 4-0 winners over Haiti in their last group game and they have a similarly long trip across the country from East Rutherford and they also have a day’s less rest.
After the disappointment of their defeat in the tournament opener, USMNT have bounced back to form in their last two games and have now won six of their last seven, whilst keeping five clean sheets. Their record at home against sides ranked above them but outside the world’s top-five is W2-D2-L4, though the majority of these games were friendlies. If we ignore friendlies and include matches at neutral venues, USA’s record against sides ranked higher than them is W1-D3-L3 since the 2010 World Cup, with that sole win coming over Costa Rica in this tournament.
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Ecuador’s win over the Haitians was their first in six games, though they have had some tough fixtures in that time as they’ve lost against Colombia and USA themselves, while they managed a goalless draw against Brazil in their opening game of this tournament. Ecuador’s away record against sides they’re ranked higher than is W4-D5-L2 since 2011 and all four of these wins have come in their last five matches since 2014. If we look solely at competitive games at neutral and away venues, Ecuador’s record against teams they’re ranked higher than but are in the world’s top-25 is W5-D3-L5 since 2009.
Since 2011, six of the eight Copa America quarter-finals saw fewer than three goals and four had fewer than two, including three goalless draws. Sides that are ranked higher according to our gradings have a W6-D5-L1 record in Copa America quarter-finals since the 2007 edition, with five draws in the last eight of these matches since 2011. Indeed, given both sides’ high draw propensity in the relevant fixtures discussed, together with the low-scoring nature of Copa quarter-finals, the draw certainly looks the best bet in this one at 3.2, with Under 1.5 goals at 3.0 and the 0-0 correct score at 8.5 also both worth consideration.
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