Chicharito’s collarbone break & Achilles injury to Navas make Mexico & Costa Rica weak, so Stars & Stripes are splendid value for CONCACAF Gold Cup crown.
2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup co-hosts the USA are an outstanding top price of 7/4 with Paddy Power to retain the trophy, because their main rivals Mexico and Costa Rica will be without key players for the tournament.
The Aztecs are missing prime poacher Javier Hernandez after he broke his collarbone during a warm-up friendly. Miguel Herrera’s men could struggle without their star striker because of a congested summer schedule.
Mexico sent a second string side to the Copa America and bowed out at the group stage. El Tri are also sending a strong Under-23 squad to the Pan-American games, stretching their resources with three competitions to contend with.
In Chicharito’s absence, the Gold Cup goal burden will fall on former Arsenal attacker Carlos Vela. He has been at odds with the Mexican Football Federation throughout his career to date, however, and was only recently welcomed back into the international fold.
Costa Rica, meanwhile, won many fans with their have-a-go, gung-ho approach at the World Cup last summer. Their defence was seldom breached because of great goalkeeping by Keylor Navas.
His heroics saw him signed by Real Madrid, but an Achilles tendon problem, again in the build-up to this tournament, has ruled him out of the Gold Cup.
While the loss of key players to the USA’s rivals is a blow for Mexico and Costa Rica, Jurgen Klinsmann has selected a strong squad.
Former Fulham forward Clint Dempsey will lead the Stars and Stripes line at the Gold Cup, and has 40 international goals to his name. Only record scorer Landon Donovan has netted more times for the USA.
Partnering Dempsey in attack is ex-Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore, and he performs far better for his country than he did during his Premier League stint.
In midfield, the Americans keep faith with Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya, who were both Gold Cup winners two years ago. Alongside them is the Stars and Stripes skipper Michael Bradley, making for the strongest engine room at this year’s edition.
On the flanks of defence are Tottenham player DeAndre Yedlin and Fabian Johnson, while at centre half Tim Ream of Bolton Wanderers marshals things in front of Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan.
Bookies.com best bet: With Premier League talent past and present in their ranks, the USA are superb @ 7/4 with Paddy Power to cover themselves in Gold Cup glory.