Gold Cup Group C play comes to a conclusion as Costa Rica takes on Jamaica with first place on the line. Both teams have clinched knockout stage places with two consecutive opening wins.
Costa Rica’s second group stage match ended in a 2-1 win over Suriname, while Jamaica beat Guadeloupe by the same scoreline.
This should be a hotly contested matchup but Costa Rica has better soccer betting odds to win than Jamaica at +120.
Game: Costa Rica vs Jamaica
Location: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
Time: July 20, 7 p.m. ET
Jamaica has struggled vs Los Ticos, especially recently. Jamaica hasn’t beaten Costa Rica since 2010, in a friendly that finished 1-0. Since then, these teams have drawn five times and Costa Rica has won three.
All-time, Jamaica is just 4-13-11 vs Costa Rica and will hope its fortunes change in this match.
Two Games, Two Wins under Luis Fernando Suarez
Costa Rica’s previous coach, Ronald Gonzales Brenes posted just a 7.1 win percentage. During his tenure Costa Rica won just one game, lost six and drew seven.
Two games into Suarez’s tenure, Costa Rica has crucially won both. While the opposition hasn’t been the strongest, in Guadeloupe and Suriname, it’s good to see Costa Rica scoring again.
Forward Joel Campbell has been excellent in the tournament. He’s scored two goals and his rebound was put in for the winner vs Suriname. Costa Rica fell behind against Suriname after Gleofilo Vlijter scored his 12th international goal in just 11 games in the 52nd minute.
Costa Rica came from behind and dramatically scored in both the 58th and 59th minutes to win the match. Campbell was responsible for the first, while midfielder Celso Borges scored the winner and his second goal of the tournament.
Center back Francisco Calvo, got a controversial red card in the 85th minute after VAR showed he hit a Surinamese player before a corner. Suriname had some good chances to level the match, hitting the post on two occasions.
Despite Calvo’s red card, Costa Rica hung on and booked its ninth consecutive berth in the Gold Cup knockout stage. Costa Rica hasn’t won the Gold Cup since it rebranded from the CONCACAF Cup, but won three of the latter. Los Ticos had their best finish in the Gold Cup in 2002, when they were runners up to the USA.
Jamaica also fell behind in its second group stage game. A Guadeloupe cross was accidentally put into the back of Jamaica’s net by Amari’i Bell in the fourth minute. On the offensive, Jamaica was able to level the scoreline just 10 minutes later.
Cory Burke put a low and unstoppable first-time strike past Guadeloupe keeper Yohann Thuram-Ulien. In stoppage time of the first half, Guadeloupe nearly went ahead. A brilliant shot from distance was tipped over the bar by Jamaica GK Andre Blake.
The scoreline stayed level until an excellent bit of individual skill in the 87th minute. Jamaica substitute Junior Flemmings picked up the ball with his back to goal at the edge of the box and turned with purpose. He faked a shot and cut the ball back to his left foot, making two Guadeloupe defenders miss. He then took an extra touch past a third defender, took a left footed shot and nutmegged Thuram-Ulien for the win.
Flemmings clinched a place in the knockout stage with style. Now, only Costa Rica stands in the way of first place in the group.
Following Calvo’s red card, Kendall Waston replaced Joel Campbell to give Costa Rica an extra defender. Watson received a yellow card shortly after coming on and will miss the match because he picked another one up in the opener.
With Costa Rica shorthanded at the back, Jamaica has an excellent opportunity. I’m not confident Jamaica will win the match, but do think the Reggae Boyz will get a result here. Bet on Jamaica to cover the +½ goal line.
Pick: Jamaica +½ (-150)