El Salvador (+330) vs. Canada (+100), Draw (+400)
El Salvador and Canada are not amongst the favorites to win the 2015 edition of the Gold Cup; indeed, they’re not even amongst the favorites to win Group B, which also features Jamaica and new world power Costa Rica. As a result, both teams will see tonight’s tournament opener as a must-win if they hope to advance to the knockout stage. The squads will square off at 10:30 PM Eastern this evening at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles.
Costa Rica come in as 2/3 favorites to win Group B, while Jamaica are 7/3. In contrast, Canada are 11/2 while El Salvador are massive 20/1 underdogs to take the group.
El Salvador, ranked 89th in the world at the moment, are led by Spanish manager Albert Roca, who was hired after the team missed the 2014 World Cup. Since Roca took over, the team is just 5-2-9, though El Salvador did manage a lopsided 4-1 victory against the weak Saint Kitts and Nevis in their last match, which was part of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Canada, who are ranked a dismal 109th by FIFA, actually come into the tournament on a four-game win streak, taking two friendlies against Guatemala (1-0) and Puerto Rico (3-0), and two World Cup qualifiers against Dominica (2-0, 4-0). Though they haven’t had much success in the tournament recently, the Canadians are the only country other than the US and Mexico to win the Gold Cup, hoisting the trophy back in 2000.
Canadian manager Benito Floro has been with the team since 2013 and is trying to change some of the culture in Canadian soccer. Floro managed Real Madrid from 1992 until 1994, winning the Copa del Rey in 1993.
Floro has had more time to work with his new team than than Roca, and has them playing at a slightly higher level. Canada has also gotten the better of El Salvador in the recent head-to-head, winning four of the last six to go along with a loss and a draw. Take the Canadians to open with another win tonight.
Pick: Canada +100.
(Photo credit: Tfcfan10 at en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)