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Gold Cup semifinal predictions: We've been drinking the Kool-Aid

The Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals are upon us Wednesday night, and although it's easy to pencil the United States and Mexico into the final for a third straight time, we shouldn't be so quick to write off Panama or Jamaica.

This feels like a particularly open final four. You could probably make just as convincing of an argument about why the U.S. is the best team remaining as you could one about why they're the worst, and the same goes for El Tri. 

With the 2026 World Cup on the horizon, the stakes feel amplified. Nobody remembers a Gold Cup semifinal loser (except Haiti in 2019 because they got Concacaf'd so hard).

2023 Concacaf Gold Cup Semifinal predictions

USMNT vs. Panama

Date: Wednesday, July 12 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Location: Snapdragon Stadium, San Diego | TV: FS1, TUDN USA, Univision

Odds to advance: USMNT -400, Panama +250

David Moore: USMNT 2 - 1 Panama

Reason: Panama will be flying high after obliterating Qatar 4-0 in the quarterfinals. Ismael Díaz has four goals in his last two games and is going to terrorize the USMNT defense. Panama will take an early lead to silence the crowd in Snapdragon Stadium, but B.J. will get the boys back on track and pull off the comeback win. 

Luis Vidal: USMNT 1 - 0 Panama 

Reason: Panama is becoming a really tough team to beat, and under any other circumstances I would have chosen them over the USMNT. But we need the USMNT in the final, we need their presence and ratings for Lionel Messi's Gold Cup final halftime presentation to MLS on July 16.  

Connor Fleming: USMNT 2 - 0 Panama 

Reason: The U.S. showcased their never say die mentality in the quarters, and now it's become pretty damn clear what changes need to be made to the starting XI to reach maximum strength (mainly Alejandro Zendejas out, Cade Cowell in). My biggest concern is that there's not much to be done about the midfield, and it's not a very strong one. But can Panama actually attack the Americans' weaknesses? I'm not convinced.  

Mexico vs. Jamaica

Date: Wednesday, July 12 | Time: 10 p.m. ET

Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas | TV: FS1, TUDN USA, Univision 

Odds to advance: Mexico -400, Jamaica +270  

David Moore: Mexico 1 - 0 Jamaica 

Reason: Despite all the hype around the on paper strength of this Jamaica side, they will somehow find a way to lose this one. Mexico will probably get some sort of Concacaf-y penalty kick decision to go their way around the 70th minute and win the game that way.

Luis Vidal: Mexico 1 - 0 Jamaica 

Reason: Lionel Messi's event also needs the massive Mexican audience in the US, so they will find a way to be in the final, too.

Connor Fleming: Mexico 1 - 2 Jamaica

Reason: Do I really believe that after Mexico's most impressive performance of the tournament, and with a raucous of over 60,000 supporting them in Vegas, they'll lose to the Reggae Boyz? Not really, but I've been riding with Jamaica throughout the Gold Cup and they pulled it off in adverse conditions against Guatemala, so what the hell. Goals for Michail Antonio and Demarai Gray.

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