WITH second spot in CONCACAF Group C seemingly up for grabs, who’s Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) backing in this crucial curtain-raiser from Chicago?
Trinidad & Tobago v Guatemala | Friday 00.00 | BT Sport 2
Two teams who’ve struggled to fire in recent years meet in Chicago knowing victory would put them in pole position for a place in the knockout stages of the CONCACAF Gold Cup and I think Trinidad & Tobago might be a little overrated in the betting markets.
The Soca Warriors have gone 450 minutes without a goal, dating back to the Caribbean Cup in November, failing to score in their last five fixtures. Kenwyne Jones is their standout striker but partner Kevin Molino is missing and boss Stephen Hart has already described Molino as ‘irreplaceable’. Goals may be hard to find.
The Caribbean team arrive having lost to the likes of Jordan, Curacao, and Panama in the last three months and are also without the services of Hughtun Hector, Carlyle Mitchell, Seon Power and Robert Primus – all four would warrant a place in or close to the starting XI and Hart’s bemoaned the lack of preparation and organisation support from his bankrupt FA. Hardly ideal.
Trinidad did earn a 1-0 win over Haiti in a behind closed doors unofficial friendly on Friday (Haiti performed admirably but were fortunate to take a point against Panama in their tournament opener) and despite being written off back home, the Soca Warriors squad remain bullish about their prospects. But should T&T be 17/10 (BetVictor) favourites here? Not in my eyes.
Guatemala are suffering similar issues in front of goal and although they advanced in CONCACAF’s World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 aggregate win over Bermuda in June, the second-leg win was their first triumph since their run to the Copa Centroamericana final in September.
La Bicolor have W1-D2-L5 across their most recent eight but back-to-back clean sheets against 126th ranked Bermuda can at least be seen as a minor positive. But key to their chances surely rests on strike duo Marco Pappa and Carlos Ruiz, reunited together at the forefront of Guatemala’s attack.
There’s little to fear from Trinidad and should Ivan Franco Sopegno’s troops feed the pair, they’ll cause problems. There’s a real consistency and familiarity amongst the Guatemala squad too – 10 ply their trade for the same Communicaciones club back home, including the whole midfield, and they are an experienced bunch too.
It’s likely to be an attritional, low-scoring tie so as well as taking the 19/10 (BetVictor) on a Guatemala win, I’ll try and cover it with a small play on the 0-0 correct score at 6/1 with BetVictor.
Trinidad & Tobago v Guatemala – Guatemala to win (19/10 BetVictor)
Trinidad & Tobago v Guatemala – 0-0 correct score (6/1 BetVictor)
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