Jamaica vs. Canada
Date and Time: Thursday, July 20, 10 p.m. ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Jamaica vs. Canada TV Coverage: FOX Sports 1
The talent that is going to be on the pitch on Thursday night in Glendale is going to be outstanding.
This Jamaican team made it this far on the back of its superstars, including Portland Timbers' striker, Darren Mattocks. Mattocks has a pair of goals for his homeland, including a penalty that ended up being the root of a draw against El Salvador in the last of the group stage matches.
Mattocks has been going at it alone at times, but Je-Vaughn Watson, Jermaine Taylor and Kemar Lawrence have all played big roles at times.
The Canadian team got a lot more talented when Orlando City striker, Cyle Larin was called up for the knockout rounds. Larin was left off the roster to stay with the Lions during the group stage, but Alphonso Davies did the rest. The 16-year old stunned the world by coming onto the international stage and scoring two goals in his first two major matches for his country.
By putting Larin and Davies together at the same time, Canada now has two awfully good finishers who could play a big role in a match like this one that could end up being fairly wide open, much like the Canucks' first game in this tournament was like in a 4-2 win over French Guiana.
Andre Blake has been a man amongst boys in this tournament, and we suspect he's going to have to stand on his head here in this match for the Reggae Boyz if they're going to advance into the semifinals for the second consecutive Gold Cup. He's been Jamaica's MVP in the net, and his presence alone should strike some fear into the Canadians.
Blake's unbelievable saves against Mexico and El Salvador in particular were some of the showstoppers of this tournament. He doesn't have a great defense in front of him, but Blake is surely talented enough to cover up so many of those flaws.
Especially with Davies and Larin on the prowl looking for openings, there will inevitably be at least a couple opportunities for Canada to put balls past Blake in relatively open spaces. How the Philadelphia Union keeper responds will probably be the telling sign between these clubs in the end.
Jamaica vs. Canada Free Picks
Canada has been the far more organized of these two teams as we see it. Jamaica was very fortunate to hold off Mexico for the full 90 minutes, and its draw against El Salvador was a result that both teams could have been happy about since it put both through to the quarterfinals while putting neither one at risk.
Mattocks is always a thrill to watch for the Reggae Boyz up front, but he's going at this alone as we see it. Canada has the deeper roster in terms of attacking prowess, and we think it's going to show in this one.
So long as the Canucks don't lose the battle of the midfield horrendously, they should have the greater of the opportunities to score. Take advantage of an early opening, and that could set the tone for a match that could end up featuring a slew of opportunities. Canada's finishers are stronger than Jamaica's, and that will end up being the difference.
Jamaica vs. Canada Soccer Pick: Canada ML at BookMaker.eu
Jamaica vs. Canada Score Prediction: Canada 3, Jamaica 1