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Five sharpshooters to watch at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

07 Jul | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Five sharpshooters to watch at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup

The players tipped to fight for the tournament’s golden boot

The sun may have set on the 2015 Copa America and the Women’s World Cup, but football just keeps on coming from across the Atlantic, with the North and Central American nations now turning their attentions to the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Jürgen Klinsmann’s USA team are the tournament’s reigning champions and home advantage suggests they will retain their crown (they’re joint favourites at 11/8 along with Mexico to win outright). But there are still plenty of opportunities for an upset however, as the 2013 tournament showed, with Panama eliminating Mexico en route to the final.

Last time around, the hunt for the top scorer accolade was equally as unpredictable, with three players sharing the honour. But who will fire their country, and indeed themselves, to glory this time? We’ve picked out five sharpshooters who are sure to be in the running.

 

Clint Dempsey – USA
The forward has been his usual feisty self, spearheading the Seattle Sounders’ attack this season and while he has already notched up a commendable seven goals and six assists in 12 league appearances, he arrives at the tournament under a cloud.

His recent melt down in the Sounders’ US Open Cup defeat resulted in the 32-year-old receiving a domestic ban, and has seen him subsequently stripped of the national team captaincy. Nevertheless, Klinsmann has publicly backed the former Tottenham Hotspur star, commenting: “We need him. And we need him to score,” when asked about the player’s importance. And given his importance, it’s little surprise that we’ve got him at 6/1 to finish as the tournament’s top scorer.

 

Joel Campbell – Costa Rica
A name familiar to many across Europe and Central America, Joel Campbell finds himself at an interesting crossroads in his career this summer. The Costa Rican was one of his country’s heroes during last year’s World Cup, and while his club career is stalling somewhat, he remains a very talented operator.

Although last season proved difficult, culminating in just one goal in 20 appearances for loan side Villarreal, his memorable 11-goal spell at Olympiacos in the campaign before is evidence that he knows where the net is. Campbell will be the focal point of a pacey Costa Rican attack and is an intriguing one at 14/1 to be the competition’s top marksman.

 

Anthony Lozano – Honduras
One of Honduras’ young crop of players, along with Anderlecht’s Andy Najar, this tournament will be an interesting one for Anthony Lozano. Following the international retirement of Honduran hero Carlo Costly after the 2014 World Cup, and with Jerry Bengtson omitted from the Gold Cup squad, the onus will be on Lozano to bang in the goals for Jorge Luis Pinto’s side.

Fortunately for the head coach, the 22-year-old arrives at the tournament in fine fettle, having scored 26 in 38 for club side Olimpia and bagging another four at international level this year alone. Whilst he is very much an outside bet, a mixture of encouraging form and group matches against Haiti and Panama make his 33/1 odds worth a consideration.

 

Gabriel Torres – Panama
A striker who surprised many during the last Gold Cup by finishing as joint top scorer, Gabriel Torres is certainly a player worth keeping an eye on this time around. The 26-year-old found the onion bag five times during the 2013 tournament and at 25/1, is worth a punt to do so again. He arrives at the competition with just four goals and two assists in 17 league appearances for club side Colorado Rapids, but certainly has the experience to help Panama cause a few shocks this summer.

 

Carlos Vela – Mexico
A player known to European fans for his frustrating time at Arsenal and subsequent renaissance at Real Sociedad, this could be a big tournament for Carlos Vela. The 26-year-old will be expected to lead the line for Miguel Herrera’s side following Javier Hernandez’s withdrawal through injury, and while he arrives at the Gold Cup following a comparatively disappointing club season of just 10 goals in 32 games, his record in recent years is sufficient warning of his striking talent.

A combination of issues with the Mexican football federation and a smattering of personnel changes has restricted him to only a handful of international appearances over the past few years, but this could be the perfect stage for him to make a mark for his country. Back him at 7/1 to win the top scorer accolade.

 

And one more long-shot for you thrill seekers…

Andy Najar – Honduras
American fans should know a reasonable amount about Andy Najar, and if his Honduran team live up to the expectations that their head coach has placed on them, even more people will know about him after the Gold Cup.

A former DC United graduate and MLS Rookie of the Year, Najar has been making waves with Belgian giants Anderlecht. Arguably Honduras’ most accomplished player, the 22-year-old winger scored twice during qualification for the tournament and now has the perfect platform to show off his talents on a grander stage. We’ve got him at 66/1 to scoop the golden boot.

 

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