The penultimate round of CONCACAF Third Round qualifying games kick off on January 27 and for the USMNT the next three games represent a soccer rollercoaster as they take on lowly El Salvador and Honduras as well as the current table leaders Canada.
Who do Bettors Favor?
Odds are not yet available for the second and third USMNT fixtures with the best online sportsbooks but eager bettors can get involved in the betting markets for the first game, against El Salvador.
Not surprisingly, the US are strong favorites for this contest, rated as a -400 chance by most sportsbooks to pick up a home win. The visitors are given relatively no chance and can be backed at odds up to +1200, while the draw is generally priced at +400.
|USA v El Salvador|
USA v El Salvador, 2022-01-27
Predictions that this fixture in Columbus, Ohio could kick off with temperatures around 25 degrees will not fill the El Salvadorian squad with joy ahead of their trip north. If the forecasts are right we could be in for a repeat of the famous 2013 ‘Snow Clasico’ in which the USMNT edged out Costa Rica in Colorado.
If conditions turn out to be as bad as suggested, that will be in the USMNT’s favor, although they scarcely need any more advantages against these opponents.
Appointed to the head coach position in April 2021, Hugo Perez’s strategy of looking for US-born El Salvador qualified players suggested El Salvador could be worth watching in these qualifiers. They were relatively impressive in their early games, holding the USMNT and Honduras to home draws and edging out Panama by a single goal.
Unfortunately, their away performances have not been as impressive as their efforts at Estadio Cuscatlan. They’ve been beaten in Canada, Costa Rica, and Panama, and were brushed aside at home by Mexico in October. The ability to pick up crucial points on the road was always going to be crucial to their chances of grabbing a playoff spot, but eight points adrift of the top four, that seems unlikely now.
It will be important for the USMNT not to take these opponents lightly, but anything less than a convincing home win would be a major surprise and even at these odds, they offer value.
Canada v USA, 2022-01-30
Three days later it’s the turn of the USMNT to head north into the cold as they travel to take on the buoyant Canadians in Hamilton.
This fixture may provoke memories of that famous 2-0 victory by Canada in 2019 that first alerted the football world to the threat of John Herdman’s young team. Since then, the USMNT have redeemed themselves against their local rivals, en route to winning both the Nations League and the Gold Cup, but they were well matched back in September when Canada earned a point in Nashville.
Since then, the USMNT has been steadily picking up points, but Canada has been even more impressive, particularly at home. El Salvador, Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico have all been beaten on Canadian soil, and the Canucks went into the New Year on top of the CONCACAF table.
The absence of Alphonso Davies, who is being monitored after a bout of COVID-19 left him with signs of mild myocarditis, will reduce the home side’s attacking edge, but with three easier fixtures to come in their last four, the USMNT doesn’t need to go all out for the win here. The result could be a scrappy but ultimately frustrating encounter with both teams ending up with a point.
USA v Honduras, 2022-02-02
The USMNT round off their three-game journey with a far easier fixture, as they take on the team that went into 2022 in last place in the CONCACAF table.
Hernan Dario Gomez has had a long and varied managerial career and holds the rare distinction of taking three different teams to the World Cup, but he won’t be adding Honduras to that list, at least not in the current round of qualifiers.
Gomez got the job six games into the qualifying campaign, at which point Honduras was already off the pace, having scraped three points and no wins. There was no immediate turnaround in results, as they lost 3-2 at home to Panama and 2-1 in Costa Rica, but they had led 2-0 with 13 minutes to go in the first of those games and were defeated by a 95th-minute winner in the second.
It’s also worth noting that under Gomez the team has scored three times in two games, having found the net only once in the previous six. Does that mean the USMNT faces the possibility of an upset in their third match of the current round of fixtures? Probably not, but it does make them an unappealing betting proposition at very short odds, and it may be wise for bettors to sit this one out.