USA will continue their “Kickoff Series” when they renew their rivalry with Mexico at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville on Wednesday
The first international break of the season is reaching its end, and one of the final games of the week will see two old rivals go at it once again. The USMNT will be continuing on their road to recovery when they face off against arch rivals Mexico at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday.
USA are on a determined quest to get back to their pomp after missing out on a place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The results have been impressive for the most part under interim boss Dave Sarachan’s tutelage, although the Stars and Stripes returned to action last week on a losing note, as Brazil beat them 2-0.
Mexico, on the other hand, are in their own rebuilding phase post the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with Juan Carlos Osorio calling time on his stint with El Tri after three years at the helm. Ricardo Ferretti has taken temporary charge, but his tenure began with a 4-1 loss at the hands of Uruguay.
USA and Mexico last locked horns in June last year in a World Cup qualifying match that ended in a 1-1 draw. Ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides on Wednesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
As has become the norm with the selection of the USMNT of late, Dave Sarachan has picked a young squad for the latest international break. The only big miss has been Christian Pulisic, who was sidelined due to an unknown problem.
Another big player, though, will be missing on Wednesday, with John Brooks leaving the squad to return to Bundesliga club Wolfsburg before the end of the break. In his absence, Cameron Carter-Vickers looks the likeliest to partner Matt Miazga at the heart of the defence. DeAndre Yedlin and Antonee Robinson should be the full-backs, with Zack Steffen keeping his place between the posts.
In midfield, the trio of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Wil Trapp seem to be forging a solid partnership, and Sarachan is expected to give them another run together against Mexico. Trapp should be playing in a more withdrawn role, screening the back-four, with McKennie and Adams being the box-to-box midfielders.
Upfront, Bobby Wood and Julian Green are certain starters, the former being the spearhead of the USA attack. The final spot on Wednesday is likely to be taken up by the impressive Timothy Weah, who has already made giant strides in international football following a solid campaign at the under-17 World Cup last year.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-1-4-1): Steffen; Yedlin, Carter-Vickers, Miazga, Robinson; Trapp; Weah, Adams, McKennie, Green; Wood
Like their hosts, Mexico will be without three stars as well, after Hirving Lozano, Guillermo Ochoa and Erick Gutierrez returned to their clubs early, and the trio will play no part. In particular, the explosiveness of Lozano and the dependability of Ochoa will be desperately missed.
But, this also provides a chance to other up and coming players to get a taste of the USA-Mexico rivalry. There will be at least one debutant on show on Wednesday, with neither Hugo Gonzalez nor Gibran Lajud making their international bow yet. Against their arch rivals, Gonzalez could be the one to get the nod.
Meanwhile, Ricardo Ferretti has promised that he will utilise his entire squad in the two friendlies that Mexico play in September. With that in mind, Jose Abella and Gerardo Arteaga could also get their debuts, playing on either side of defence, with Edson Alvarez giving Hugo Ayala company in the central defensive partnership.
In midfield, Jonathan dos Santos is the experience figure, who should start and guide those around him, especially with Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera not selected. Giving the 28-year-old company in the midfield pivot, should be Orbelin Pineda, with Erick Aguirre another debutant in the inexperienced El Tri side on the left flank.
Upfront, Raul Jimenez should continue as the central striker. But, Roberto Alvarado could replace Alan Pulido in the free role behind the Wolves striker. Victor Guzman should be the man lining up on the right flank, making his full debut for Mexico.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gonzalez; Abella, Ayala, Alvarez, Arteaga; dos Santos, Pineda; Guzman, Alvarado, Aguirre; Jimenez
- USA and Mexico have faced each other 70 times, with Mexico holding the edge with 34 wins (D14 L19).
- USA have lost just one of the last 13 friendlies that they have hosted (W8 D4).
- USA boast a mixed record in 2018 thus far, even though they have been on the wrong end of the result on just two occasions (W2 D2).
- Ricardo Ferretti has taken charge of just one game as the interim Mexico boss, losing 4-1 at the hands of Uruguay.
Player to Watch
His recent record at club level might not be all that inspiring. But, Bobby Wood is known to step up whenever his national team has needed him. What better way to prove the same than against the bitter rivals, as Mexico come calling on Wednesday.
Spearheading a largely inexperienced side, the onus will be on Wood to ease up the nerves and provide USA another huge boost on their road to redemption. Expect the 25-year-old to comes out all guns blazing on the night.
USA 2-1 Mexico
A game that is seldom in need of any advertisement. USA and Mexico will battle it out for the 71st tie on Wednesday, and it is a great chance for one of the inexperienced units to continue their rebuilding phase with exactly the kind of result that can provide them the required impetus.
But, with Mexico missing some clutch players, and Ricardo Ferretti in the mood to experiment a little, USA seem to have the upper hand, even if it’s not by a long shot. The Hard Tackle predicts a closely contested game, with Dave Sarachan & co. grabbing a narrow 2-1 win at the expense of their neighbours.