YA WRITER PREDICTIONS FOR PARAGUAY
The YA panel of experts once again tries to read the tea leaves, and predicts what fate will befall Jürgen Klinsmann's squad against Paraguay tonight.
The Americans head into Saturday's final Group A match against Paraguay firmly in control of their own destiny. The formula is simple: a win will guarantee a place in the final eight of the tournament, and a draw, barring an unthinkable blowout win by Costa Rica over Colombia, will also do the same.
The YA prognosticators took the optimistic route prior to Tuesday's do-or-die against Costa Rica, with each writer correctly predicting a win. The only error of our ways was that we were too conservative, with nobody awarding more than a two-goal margin in the win for the team, much less the four-goal edge.
While Paraguay can reasonably be considered to be tougher opposition, we again have a bright outlook for the team, with a unanimous consensus that they will obtain a result needed to continue on to the quarterfinals.
Are we destined to spend the next few days in bitter disappointment and embarrassment of our unbridled optimism, or does the team have what it takes to advance?
The US are in a prime position to qualify for the knockout stage, but as with previous tournaments they have put themselves in a tricky position yet again as they have left it to the last game to guarantee it.
Paraguay have not been great this tournament, so the US should find a way to get the result they need. Jürgen Klinsmann will go with the same lineup like Tuesday and hopefully the team will play at the same level of intensity that got them the win.
It's going to be close, but the US goes to the quarterfinals with a draw.
Prediction: USA 1 - 1 Paraguay
The Yanks had probably their best performance of 2016 against Costa Rica on Tuesday. If the US can maintain its current form against Group A's likely weakest squad, Paraguay, the Americans will advance to the Copa America Quarterfinals. A tie could be enough to advance, but three points seals the path to the quarters.
Clint Dempsey rewarded Klinsmann's faith in him by putting together an excellent performance on Tuesday-he should pair up with Bobby Wood again up top. And Jermaine Jones certainly cemented his starting spot in the midfield after his superb work against Costa Rica.
Prediction: USA 2 - 0 Paraguay
I think the US continues its winning ways and manages the narrowest of wins to move into the quarterfinals. Paraguay's defense will be difficult to break down but I envision Dempsey to get the winner.
Prediction: USA 1 - 0 Paraguay
This might end as a close game with some late dramatics, but I think the U.S. will indeed advance. The U.S. is riding momentum and looked to finally figure it out against Costa Rica. One thing to watch - the weather.
Prediction: USA 2 - 1 Paraguay
Call it a hunch, but this US vs. Paraguay match is going to be wide open. Paraguay needs a win, which means as it presses the Yanks for goals, there should be plenty of space.
Still, I anticipate Paraguay to score a few themselves in what should be an entertaining match.
Prediction: USA 2 - 2 Paraguay
It all comes down to this, doesn't it? The onus is on Paraguay to score, which will play right into the true (even if not Jürgen Klinsmann's favorite) strength of this US squad: creating chances on counter-attacks.
Paraguay will hold the edge on possession and will likely find the net at least once, but the likes of DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Johnson, Christian Pulisic (as a sub) and Clint Dempsey will ensure that the US keeps the edge and finishes the 90 minutes comfortably on top.
Prediction: USA 2 - 1 Paraguay