Perhaps the toughest game of the four quarter-finals to
call, Costa Rica plays Honduras on Saturday at New Meadowlands Stadium in New
Jersey and no matter what, an unexpected team will be in the semi finals.
This year's edition of the Gold Cup has been filled with surprises,
but these two teams being among the last eight should not shock anyone.
In Group A, Mexico (who play Guatemala on Saturday) was a slam-dunk to advance to the
elimination round but the rest of the draw was open for the taking.
The Costa Ricans were able to grab that second spot, their
goal difference of +2 evident of some mixed results. In their three group
matches, they beat Cuba 5-0, tied El Salvador and then were handily beaten 1-4
by the Mexicans.
Though it's going to be tough for any team to outclass
Mexico in this tournament, Costa Rica could be feeling the effects of that
beatdown heading into the weekend.
Honduras meanwhile entered the competition as the favorite
to win Group B, but faltered a little bit, drawing Guatemala in the opener
before a 0-1 loss to Jamaica in the final group match.
The Hondurans were able to smash Grenada 7-1 in between,
which in the end helped them advance to the knockout stages.
Will they be able to keep their dream alive this weekend
with a victory against Costa Rica?
A close one to predict – do the favorites cash?
Bodog has released the soccer odds for the upcoming Gold Cup
games, handing Costa Rica the favorite tag at +140. The Hondurans aren't too
far behind however, installed at +180 in the betting odds to move on to the semi-finals.
Carlos Costly has led the way for Honduras so far in the
tournament, scoring three goals and also notching an assist in the three group
While all of those goals came in the victory over Grenada,
Costly's imposing 6'3” frame has caused havoc for opposing defenses in international
If Costa Rica clamps down on Costly, that could leave some
extra space for Jerry Bengston, a dangerous striker who scored two times in the
On the other end, watch out for Bryan Ruiz. Rumored to be on
the verge of joining Benfica, Ruiz currently plays for FC Twente and is one of
the most experienced Costa Rican players despite his relatively young age.
Another promising striker, Marcos Urena, has been very
productive so far in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He found the back of the net on three
occasions in Group A action.
In spite of the top sportsbooks making Costa Rica the
favorites, I believe we'll witness Honduras escape with the win to book its
place in the last four.
The duo of Costly and Bengston should really present a lot
of problems for a beatable Costa Rican defense and I expect at least one goal
from that powerful top line.
Honduras may have been rather disappointing throughout the
group stage, but look for Luis Fernando Suarez' squad to get back on track with
a gratifying quarter-final triumph.
FREE Pick: Costa Rica 1 Honduras 2