Copa America: Day 6

USA V Paraguay (KO. 11.35pm)

Group C continues tonight with the United States against Paraguay. The US lost their first game to a superior Argentina side while Paraguay put 5 without an answer past Colombia. Paraguay are the form team and Roque Santa Cruz, Paraguay’s star player, is the man to watch. A hat-trick against Colombia showed how dangerous he can be and a chance to overtake Robinho on the top scorer list is there for the taking tonight. The US are really showing a Gold Cup hangover and coach Bob Bradley needs to pull a performance out of his group of players if they are to avoid exiting the competition before even playing their last game. An inexperienced squad, the US know that tonight is a key game against a very, very good team. “Overall Paraguay is a good team with a few very talented individuals” Bradley said. Without 8 of his usual starting eleven and most importantly talisman, Landon Donavan, the US are in a dire position. Striker Eddie Johnson scored against Argentina before the flood gates opened and the US will be looking to him again tonight to carry the team. Bradley has 16 players in his squad with less than 10 caps and he is surely regretting bringing such a threadbare group. It’s likely that their challenge will end tonight.

Paraguay, on the other hand, are in flying form. A 5 goal demolition of Colombia means that if they win tonight and Colombia don’t beat Argentina then they are already through to the quarter finals. Out to prove that the last game against Colombia wasn’t sheer luck, they will be firing on all cylinders again. Coach Martino is cautious to get carried away with one result and knows any lack in concentration will be ounished. He said “The United States have just won the Gold Cup and have players that might surprise us. We have to be cautious and not forget any details”. One absentee for Martino tonight will be left back, Claudio Morel Rodriguez. A muscle strain will keep him out of the side but will offer a chance to up and coming defender, Aureliano Torres. Paraguay, with Santa Cruz in form, should have too much for the US tonight.

Prediction: USA 0 – 2 Paraguay

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