The 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup is up and running. The two tournament heavyweights - Mexico and the USA - have started with comfortable victories, but there are a number of storylines to keep an eye on. Honduras v Curacao, for instance, is one to catch. Here are four tips from the second round of fixtures.
Mexico v Canada
Broncos Stadium, June 19
Mexico got off to a winning start in their opening Gold Cup group game, although anything less than a win against Cuba would have been treated as a national crisis. Tata Martino is without many of his big names - Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela and Hector Herrera, to name just four - but El Tri are still expected to be among the frontrunners to win the whole thing.
Canada also started their Gold Cup campaign with a win (against Martinique), but Les Rouges are without a win over Mexico since 1976. Indeed, Mexico are unbeaten in their last 19 meetings against Canada. Three of the last five games between these two teams have resulted in more than 2.5 total goals, though. Two of those matches saw both teams find the net.
1u - Back Over 2.5 Total Goals @ -138
Costa Rica v Bermuda
Toyota Stadium, June 20
As one of the host nations of this summer’s Gold Cup, Costa Rica started with a convincing 4-0 win over Nicaragua in their opening group game, starting the match strongly and building a 4-0 lead before half time had even been reached. On the other hand, Bermuda lost to Haiti in their first match of the competition.
Costa Rica should find little trouble in making it two wins from two. They have lost two of their last 20 games played at home and those two defeats came to Serbia and the USA - much higher calibre opposition than Bermuda. It’s difficult to see how the Caribbean side will trouble the host nation.
1.5u - Costa Rica To Win To Nil @ -250
Honduras v Curacao
BBVA Compass Stadium, June 21
Back in 1981, Honduras actually won the Gold Cup. That is their only triumph in the tournament, although they did finish third in 2005 and 2009. Curacao, on the other hand, have only ever participated in the Gold Cup once before under this name (previously, they went by the name of Netherlands Antilles).
Honduras have now gone five games without a win, losing their opening group match to Jamaica. Three of those matches have featured over 2.5 goals. Curacao also lost their first fixture (to El Salvador), but managed just one shot on target over the course of the 90 minutes. This doesn’t suggest we will see much of an attacking display from them against Honduras.
2u - Back Honduras Asian Handicap -0.75 @ +121
USA v Trinidad and Tobago
FirstEnergy Stadium, June 22
The United States put all the doubts of the past few weeks behind them with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Guyana in their opening Gold Cup group game on Tuesday night. However, this match up against Trinidad and Tobago will be tougher, not least because it will raise bad memories for the Americans.
It was a defeat to Trinidad and Tobago that cost the USA their place at the 2018 World Cup. That result prompted a wide-reaching inquest and re-evaluation of the American game. Trinidad and Tobago lost their opening Goal Cup game 2-0 to Panama and it’s difficult to envisage them taking anything from this fixture.
0.5u - Back USA to Score 3+ Goals @ -212