Normally, I can take pride in picking two correct games during a single elimination tournament. However, as TBM's resident Gold Cup writer, having my chief founding editor pick a correct scoreline is practically humiliating, as Steve did with his 1-0 Mexico win, AET not withstanding because we both thought that game was going into extra time.
Adding his 3-1 Panama prediction to my 2-1 score, and on paper I feel like I'm 0-for-2 in the head to head competition. Not that I'm competitive at all. Can the two of us maintain a perfect prediction rate and can I regain some pride before the semifinals?
Steve (2-0) - Winners, 2/2; Scorelines 1/2
Jake (0-2) - Winners, 2/2; Scorelines 0/2
UNITED STATES [C1] vs. [B3] EL SALVADOR
Well, on paper this looks like a mismatch, but El Salvador has been known to punch above their weight class. We have a full preview of this match, so we're going to get to the predictions.
STEVE: United States 2, El Salvador 1, FT - El Salvador has played tough this tournament. All of their matches have been close, the defense has laid it all on the line, and Rodolfo Zelaya is out to get PAID with the way he's taken the tournament by storm. That said, they aren't going to beat the United States. I'd say it might get nervy at times, but the Yanks' firepower will prove too much.
JAKE: United States 4, El Salvador 0, FT - Go big or go home. The USA gave up goals against Belize and Cuba before shutting out Costa Rica. If they're serious about winning this tournament, they should roll through El Salvador and not wait until the 84th minute to breakthrough like they did against Costa Rice. The scoreline should not represent how well El Salvador represented themselves during the Gold Cup, but it should reflect the differences between these two teams.
HONDURAS [B1] vs. [C2] COSTA RICA
These two Central American rivals have struggled at times during the Gold Cup. A 10-man Honduras team losing to Trinidad and Tobago and a stoppage time 1-0 win over El Salavdor in the group stages. Costa Rica needed an own goal to beat Belize 1-0 and then was shutout in a 1-0 loss to the USA. Both teams have been solid defensively but have struggled to score goals in this tournament.
STEVE: Costa Rica 1, Honduras 0, FT: Costa Rica has been strong, but they haven't shown the kind of breakout offensive ability that makes me think they'll take this match easily. Honduras, for their part, has looked decent, but are almost certainly the inferior side, and Costa Rica is going to take this.
JAKE: Honduras 1, Costa Rica 1, AET (HON advances on PKs 4-3): This is honestly the only quarterfinal match that has a chance at going to penalties. I have been less than impressed with both teams and while Costa Rica is better on paper, I think I trust their offense less than Honduras' right now. I'm not even calling this an upset, Honduras in penalties.
Got your own predictions? Leave them in the comments section below.