With the region's two premier teams playing for the title, the game has gotten a lot of attention in the national media. This morning, ESPN had Alexi Lalas on SportsCenter discussing the match. The Worldwide Leader couldn't resist mentioning that the US has lost just once to Mexico on US soil since 2000, though that one loss was a 5-0 drilling in the 2009 Gold Cup final, though this blog post by Scott French of ESPN Los Angeles should make some USMNT fans feel better. According to French, the US has outscored El Tri 21-8 in matches outside of Estadio Azteca since 2000. Throw the 5-0 beating out, and the difference jumps to 21-3 in 12 matches!
|Tim Howard give the USMNT the edge in goal.|
Defense - Bob Bradley seems to have found his starting back 4 with Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra and Eric Lichaj all playing well in the past 3 games. Lichaj and Cherundolo have been dangerous moving forward, though they will have to defend much more against Mexico than they have in previous matches. The US back line has not conceded a goal since the loss to Panama but will certainly be tested against Mexico. El Tri's back 4 of Rafa Marquez, Héctor Moreno, Efrain Juarez and Carlos Salcido have conceded just 2 goals the entire tournament, though they have yet to be truly tested. Advantage: Push
Midfield - Mexico plays with a classic four man midfield. Two central midfielders (Gerardo Torrado and Israel Castro) and two wingers (Andres Guardado and Pablo Barrera. Barrera has played well in the Gold Cup, scoring 1 goal and assisting on 3 others. Guardado may not start due to an ankle injury. If Guardado can't go, Giovani Dos Santos would likely slot into his spot. Expect Bob Bradley to start a five man midfield, as this formation has worked in the last two games. While Landon Donovan hasn't started the last two games, he HAS to be on the field. He's a big game player for the US and has played well against Mexico in the past. Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey and Alejandro Bedoya should keep their spots in the lineup. Dempsey has been extremely good, and Bedoya has transferred his fine form with Örebro to the USMNT. Though the US has played well, Mexico is better from a technical standpoint. (slight) Advantage: Mexico
|Chicharito has been on fire this year. |
Will the USMNT be able to keep him of the scoresheet?
Prediction - While Mexico holds the advantage from an individual talent perspective, the US is greater than the sum of its parts. In addition to the team mentality that permeates the USMNT camp, the US team believes it can beat Mexico. No matter how partisan the crowd, and in Southern California it will likely be extremely pro-Mexico, the USMNT has proven time and again that it has the mentality necessary to defeat its southern rivals. Score: USMNT 2 - Mexico 1.