The United States Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) is set to take on Mexico in a crucial World Cup qualifying match on November 12, 2022 in Orlando. This will be the first meeting between these two rivals since Mexico defeated the US 2-1 in extra time in the finals of the 2021 CONCACAF Nations League. With both teams fighting for one of the three guaranteed World Cup spots from CONCACAF, this match takes on added importance.
What are the stakes?
The stakes are high for both teams in this match. In CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the top three teams earn automatic berths to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The fourth place team advances to a playoff against the Oceania representative.
Entering this match, Mexico sits in second place with 14 points through 6 matches. The United States is right behind them in third with 11 points in 6 matches. Panama and Canada round out the top four spots. With six matches left for each team after this game, there is still plenty to be decided. However, a win for either side would be massive in helping solidify their spot in the top three.
What is the history between the USMNT and Mexico?
The United States and Mexico have been rivals ever since they first met in 1934. Overall, Mexico has historically dominated the rivalry. In 67 all-time meetings, Mexico has won 34 times, the US has won 15 times, and they have drawn 18 times. Mexico has outscored the US 134-79 in those matches.
However, in recent years, the rivalry has become much more competitive. Since 2000, Mexico still holds the edge at 13 wins, 9 losses, and 10 draws. But the goal differential is much narrower at 49-44 in favor of Mexico. The USMNT has won three of the last eight competitive matches dating back to 2013.
Some of the most memorable recent matches include:
– 2002 World Cup Round of 16: The US shocked Mexico 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals
– 2011 Gold Cup Final: Mexico won 4-2 to capture the trophy at the Rose Bowl
– 2016 World Cup Qualifying: The US earned a huge 2-1 road win at Estadio Azteca
– 2021 Nations League Final: Mexico came from behind to defeat the US 3-2 in extra time
What kind of form are both teams in?
The USMNT has momentum entering this match. They are undefeated in their last eight matches overall, including a 3-0 home win over Morocco and a 2-0 road win over Jamaica in their last two World Cup qualifiers. The young squad led by Christian Pulisic appears to be gelling well under manager Gregg Berhalter.
Mexico struggled this summer, suffering consecutive losses to the United States and Canada in the Gold Cup semifinals and final. However, they bounced back nicely in World Cup qualifying with four consecutive wins in September and October over Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador. Veteran manager Tata Martino will expect his team to continue that strong form against their rival.
Based on their recent performances, both teams should come into this match with confidence. USA will look to build on their positive momentum, while Mexico wants to prove their Gold Cup disappointment is behind them. An in-form Mexico still has to be considered the favorite, but the USMNT has shown they can compete with their archrival.
Who are the key players?
For the USMNT:
– Christian Pulisic (Chelsea): The star attacking midfielder will be counted on to spearhead the US offense. He scored a critical goal to beat Mexico in the 2019 Gold Cup final.
– Weston McKennie (Juventus): His partnership with Pulisic in the midfield will be vital in linking the defense and attack. McKennie will also be key on set pieces.
– Zack Steffen (Manchester City): The goalkeeper will need a big performance to shut down Mexico’s talented strikers.
– Hirving Lozano (Napoli): The speedy winger can change a match in an instant and will test the American defense.
– Andres Guardado (Real Betis): The veteran midfielder is a steadying presence and leads the team both through his play and vocal leadership.
– Guillermo Ochoa (Club America): The legendary goalkeeper has come up with big saves against the USMNT in the past to deny them famous wins. Cutting off service to Pulisic and company will be his main objective.
What’s at stake for the USMNT?
Beating Mexico would be monumental for the United States’ World Cup qualifying hopes. It would not only give them a valuable three points, but winning this match would:
– Give the US a six point lead over Mexico in the table with just six games remaining
– Snap a three game losing streak against Mexico
– Give the young USMNT squad confidence they can beat anyone in CONCACAF
– Prove manager Gregg Berhalter’s system can work against top competition
– Bring the US one huge step closer to the 2022 World Cup
With home field advantage in Orlando, motivation will be high for the USMNT players to perform well against their biggest rival and take control of their World Cup destiny. This is the kind of match where someone like Christian Pulisic could cement their legacy with a star performance.
What’s at stake for Mexico?
For Mexico, the stakes are also high in this match:
– Avoiding back-to-back losses against the USMNT for the first time since 2009
– Snapping their recent road woes in World Cup qualifying matches outside of Mexico
– Adding a key three points to keep pace in the ultra tight race for automatic World Cup spots
– Proving the Gold Cup disappointment was just a minor blip in their consistency
– Putting pressure back on the United States and avoiding falling six points behind them
– Demonstrating they are still clearly the best team in CONCACAF despite recent US and Canadian success against them
Mexico is always expected to qualify for the World Cup out of CONCACAF. But with so many quality teams, they cannot afford slip ups right now if they want to avoid the intercontinental playoff. That means getting a positive result against the USMNT on the road is extremely important.
What are possible strategies for the USMNT?
The United States will likely try to implement the following strategies in this match:
– Use the energetic midfield duo of Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams to press high up the field and force turnovers from Mexico. Their athleticism can disrupt El Tri’s rhythm.
– Get Christian Pulisic on the ball as much as possible in dangerous areas to take advantage of his creativity and 1v1 dribbling ability. Allow him freedom to roam and find pockets of space.
– Have wingers Tim Weah and Brendan Aaronson stay wide to stretch the Mexico defense. They have the speed to get in behind Mexico’s fullbacks.
– Soak up pressure defensively and limit Mexico’s quality chances in the box. Force them to beat you with long shots.
– Look to play direct passes on the counter attack after winning the ball to catch Mexico’s defense out of position.
– Utilize set pieces and crosses to take advantage of the USMNT’s size at positions like center back and forward.
Sticking to these tactics will make life difficult for Mexico and give the USMNT their best chance at a win.
|Press high with McKennie/Adams
|Force Mexico turnovers
|Get Pulisic on the ball often
|Take advantage of his talent
|Stretch defense with wingers
|Create space to attack
|Limit Mexico’s chances
|Counter attack quickly
|Catch defense out of position
|Use height advantage
What are possible strategies for Mexico?
Mexico is likely to try and implement the following strategies:
– Maintain possession with short, quick passing to move the American defense side to side and open up gaps centrally to exploit
– Combine down the wings with overlapping fullbacks and wingers to create 2v1 advantages and crosses into the box
– Press high and aggressivly when the US has the ball to force hurried clearances and turnovers
– Use combination plays around the box to pull American defenders out of position and create shooting lanes for players like Lozano, Jimenez, and Hernandez
– Take advantage of set pieces and wide free kicks to target aerial threats like Montes and Moreno
– Soak up American counter attacks and transition pressure before hitting back on the counter themselves
– Patience probing for gaps and waiting until the perfect chance to attack with numbers
– Utilize possession and passing patience to tire out the USMNT midfield that likes to press and attack
If Mexico can control possession and dictate the flow of the match, they can nullify the American counter attack and create quality scoring chances of their own.
|Make US chase and open gaps
|Create 2v1 advantages
|Force US turnovers
|Pull defenders out of position
|Set pieces for aerial threats
|Utilize size of defenders
|Soak up counters
|Hit back with own counters
|Wait for perfect chance to attack
|Tire midfield with possession
|Nullify US pressing
What’s a likely starting 11 for the USMNT?
Based on recent call ups and previous lineups, here is a projected starting 11 for the USMNT:
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen
Defenders: Sergino Dest, Miles Robinson, Chris Richards, Antonee Robinson
Midfield: Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah
Forwards: Tim Weah, Ricardo Pepi, Christian Pulisic
Manager Gregg Berhalter has relied heavily on young players in qualifying so far like Pepi, Weah, McKennie, and Dest. Veterans like Steffen, Adams, and Pulisic help balance out the youth in key positions. Brooks and Ream provide the experienced center back pairing while Robinson and Dest provide speed on the wings.
This projected 11 blends defensive strength, possession in midfield, pace on the wings, and clinical finishing at forward. It represents the United States’ best chance to defeat Mexico.
What’s a likely starting 11 for Mexico?
Mexico manager Tata Martino also has a deep pool of talent to choose from. Based on his recent selections, here is a projected starting 11:
Goalkeeper: Guillermo Ochoa
Defenders: Nestor Araujo, Cesar Montes, Hector Moreno, Jesus Gallardo
Midfield: Andres Guardado (C), Hector Herrera, Luis Romo
Forwards: Hirving Lozano, Raul Jimenez, Jesus Corona
Veterans like Ochoa, Guardado, Herrera, and Moreno provide tons of experience. Montes and Araujo have emerged as the preferred center back pairing. Lozano and Corona supply speed and 1v1 ability from the wings while target forward Jimenez anchors the attack.
Mexico has excellent depth as well, with players like Chucky Lozano, Rodolfo Pizarro, and Uriel Antuna all capable of contributing off the bench. This balance of youth and experience makes Mexico dangerous in any match.
What’s the predicted result?
This match represents a clash of two bitter rivals both needing a win. Based on the stakes, history, venue, and form of both teams, a hard fought 1-1 draw seems like a realistic predicted final score.
Mexico is still favored on paper based on the quality and depth of their squad along with their recent domination of the rivalry. However, the United States has enough emerging talent of their own and the motivation of playing at home with World Cup qualification nearly on the line.
Both nations have the talent to find the back of the net while also defending well enough to limit clear cut chances. The desire to avoid defeat against their biggest adversary could see both teams be cautious rather than go all out for the win.
In the end, a draw keeps the United States above Mexico in the standings while also avoiding the devastating impact of a defeat. For Mexico, gaining a road point keeps them in the hunt for automatic qualification heading into their remaining fixtures.
Why the odds could favor the USMNT
Despite Mexico being the more talented and experienced overall squad, there are some reasons why the odds could shift in favor of a USMNT win:
– Home field advantage: The passionate pro-American crowd in Orlando will give the USMNT a boost
– Momentum: The USMNT is undefeated in 8 straight while Mexico is still recovering from their summer slide
– Tactical flexibility: Manager Gregg Berhalter has proven he can set his team up to counter Mexico’s strengths
– Emerging talent: Players like Christian Pulisic are hitting their prime while youngsters like Pepi and Weah are fearless
– Mexico’s road struggles: El Tri has found it difficult to pick up wins on the road in qualifying so far this cycle
– The stakes: With World Cup qualification nearly on the line, the USMNT may have more motivation and fight
– X-factor players: Someone like Pulisic or McKennie is due for a breakout performance against their biggest rival
– Recent results: The USMNT has had the edge over Mexico in recent competitive matches, going 3-1-1 in the last five
If Berhalter gets his tactics right and his young players perform, the USMNT could very well pull off the upset victory in front of their home fans.
Why the odds could favor Mexico
There are also ample reasons why Mexico will still be favored to get the win or at least avoid defeat:
– Overall talent/depth: Mexico’s player pool is deeper with more talent playing in Europe’s top leagues
– Experience: Mexico has more players in or near their prime with World Cup experience
– Balance: Mexico has fewer weaknesses in their starting 11 and more consistent performers
– Manager continuity: Tata Martino has established continuity since 2019 while the US is still adapting to Berhalter’s system
– Possession style: Mexico’s ability to control possession could limit the USMNT’s dangerous counterattack
– Strong defense: Mexico has allowed just three total goals in their last six qualifying matches
– Goalscoring threats: Mexico has more clinical finishers like Lozano and Jimenez who can create chances
– Confidence: After four straight wins, Mexico should be feeling good about their form compared to a shaky summer
– Clutch factor: Mexico has historically gotten big results when needed most, while the USMNT has struggled in qualifiers
Until the USMNT can prove they can beat Mexico regularly, El Tri has earned the benefit of the doubt based on the sheer weight of history and talent.
Based on an analysis of both teams, a hard-fought 1-1 draw seems like the most probable final score. The USMNT playing at home coupled with their strong recent form suggests they can get a least a point from this match. Mexico’s talent and experience means they are still likely to get on the board themselves.
Both teams would accept a draw as a decent result keeping them on track for qualification. For the USMNT, avoiding defeat will be key. But with players like Pulisic rising to the occasion in big games recently for club and country, a win for the Stars and Stripes can’t be ruled out entirely.
Whatever the final score, this promises to be an intense and fiercely contested match between two rivals desperate for World Cup qualification.
This World Cup qualifying match between the United States and Mexico has major implications. With both teams fighting for automatic qualification spots, there is no room for error. Though Mexico has historically dominated the rivalry, the USMNT appears to be on the rise. Their promising young core of players and tactical flexibility could pose problems for El Tri.
A hard-fought 1-1 draw seems like the most likely outcome. However, a win for either side would go a long way toward World Cup qualification while also earning bragging rights against their biggest adversary. Christian Pulisic and other U.S. stars will aim to spark an upset victory at home. But Mexico’s quality, experience and winning mentality can never be discounted.
No matter what, this qualifier promises to add another memorable chapter in one of the greatest rivalries in sports. Both nations should be prepared for a tense, tightly contested affair as the push for the 2022 World Cup heats up.