CONCACAF Cup Preview and Prediction: USA vs Mexico

Competition: CONCACAF Cup – USA vs. Mexico

Venue: Rose Bowl, California – Saturday, October 10 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: USA 11/8 – Draw 23/10 – Mexico 7/4

Match Preview

The USA and Mexico face off in the highly anticipated CONCACAF Cup on Saturday night as the international rivals will be facing off for a place at the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia.

“This is one of the biggest soccer games to be played on North American soil since the 1994 World Cup,” CONCACAF acting General Secretary Ted Howard in a statement. He’s not wrong.

It’s set to be an absolute classic encounter between two teams that always play with full intensity and passion whenever they meet. They will play each other at the Rose Bowl in California where more than 90,000 fans are set to make the atmosphere as electric as the game itself in what is a sell-out.

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This is the first ever CONCACAF Cup match, which is a playoff game for the Confederations Cup in two years time, between the last two winners of the continent’s Gold Cup tournament. USA won the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2013 but the Mexicans were victorious at this summer’s tournament on US soil, so now a one-off game will be played to see who represents CONCACAF in Russia.

The USA finished a disappointing fourth at the Gold Cup this summer and Jurgen Klinsmann is now under intense pressure to ensure the Americans beat Mexico in California.

The USMNT have lost three of their last four games though and need to put in a much improved performance to have any chance of advancing past El Tri here.

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Mexico are unbeaten in their last ten outings and will be the more confident of the two sides ahead of Saturday’s battle.

Both sets of fans will remember the most recent meeting between the two sides at the Rose Bowl as Mexico rallied from 2-0 down to beat the USA 4-2 in the 2011 Gold Cup final, sealing their place at the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.

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The entire stadium was filled with Mexico fans four years ago but a lot more USA fans are expected to be in attendance and should guarantee an incredible atmosphere.

Recent history is on the USA’s side as they haven’t lost to Mexico in any of their last six encounters (W3 D3). The last time they lost to El Tri was at the Rose Bowl in that 2011 Gold Cup showdown.

Team News

Jurgen Klinsmann has called up his veterans for this game as the more big-game experience in the starting lineup the better. Tim Howard could start in goal for the first time since the 2014 World Cup if Brad Guzan is dropped. Jermaine Jones will hope to start in midfield with Michael Bradley, though Kyle Beckerman is also an option. In attack, Clint Dempsey will look to shine with Jozy Altidore, Chris Wondolowski and Gyasi Zardes also available for selection.

Mexico have received a double boost ahead of the game as veteran defender Rafa Marquez and midfielder Andres Guardado have shaken off knocks and are expected to start. Other star names included in the squad are Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez but LA Galaxy attacker Giovani Dos Santos is out as he picked up a knock in the Galaxy’s draw with Seattle last weekend.

Key Points

USA’s last five: W/L/L/W/L

Mexico’s last five: W/W/W/D/D

Key Stat: The USA currently have a six-game unbeaten streak going against Mexico – the longest run of games without losing to their rivals in history.

Key Player: Michael Bradley – The USMNT midfield hero scored the opening goal at the Rose Bowl in the 2011 meeting and also netted in a 2-2 draw between the two last April. He loves these games and will look to fire the USA to victory.

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Score Prediction

USA 2-1 Mexico – This is all set up to be one of the most memorable meetings ever between these fierce rivals. Both sides will be desperate to remain defensively solid but with so much attacking talent on display, goals look to be inevitable. If the USA fans can match the Mexicans for noise, then they stand a really good chance of edging this one. We’re going for a narrow USA victory, though don’t be surprised if they have to wait until extra-time or perhaps even penalties to earn that win.

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Former Spurs and Barcelona winger ‘opens talks’ with LA Galaxy – report

Mexican attacker Giovani Dos Santos is the latest big name to be linked with a move to MLS as the Villarreal man has opened talks with LA Galaxy, according to Fox Sports’ Daniel Girones.

Dos Santos has two years left on his contract with Liga BBVA side Villarreal but is looking likely to leave this summer, with a move stateside now a real possibility.

It’s not the first time the former Spurs and Barcelona man has been linked with MLS or LA Galaxy. The 26-year-old was being tipped for a move to Los Angeles two years ago but Bruce Arena laughed off the reports in 2013.

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He might still be laughing as LA already have all three Designated Player slots filled. Omar Gonzalez, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard are all DP’s and so it’s difficult to see how Giovani would complete a move to the 2014 MLS Cup champions this summer.

There’s sure to be interest from sides across MLS though and the league are actively pursuing both Dos Santos and fellow Mexican Javier Hernandez, according to Taylor Twellman.

Giovani has scored 18 goals with 15 assists in 75 appearances for Villarreal and has represented the Mexican National Team 86 times to date.

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He scored in Mexico’s 2-2 draw with Costa Rica in a friendly at Orlando City’s Citrus Bowl on Saturday and could be plying his trade across stadiums in North America on a permanent basis soon.

Would Giovani dos Santos be a good signing for MLS? Could a move to LA Galaxy go through?