It’s considered one of the best soccer rivalries in the world today, and for good reason: The United States and Mexico men’s teams simply don’t like each other as they battle for regional supremacy every year. But the critical qualifying points for the World Cup are also up for grabs on Friday.
For many years, Mexico was the undisputed leader of the CONCACAF region, but since the turn of the century, the United States has made a legitimate case to overthrow El Tri. Last summer, the US beat Mexico in two finals, the Nations League and the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and now they can try again in a CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The game means so much that the United States re-selected Ohio as the host state to guarantee home advantage. Mexico is in first place (14 points) and the United States in second place (11 points) after six of the 14 qualifiers, and it is still early enough for these points to matter beyond the bragging rights of the rivalry. Both teams have work to do to win one of the direct tickets to the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Both teams face pressure in this game. Mexico coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino could see the country’s fans turn against him if he suffers the ignominy of losing a third straight game to the Americans. Meanwhile, the USMNT does not want to lose more local points for fear of complicating the classification. He also feels belittled by his rival.
“When you hear things coming out of their camp that we want to be them … it shows that we have a long way to go to earn the respect of Mexico,” said United States head coach Gregg Berhalter. “The two victories of the summer did not do much to achieve it, and we are going to have to. [Friday] with our game on the field.
“It’s about who can stay calm but still compete 100 percent. That is the trick. There is a line that you don’t want to cross, but you have to get to that line to be successful. “
DECOURCY: Rivalry is everything in the United States vs. Mexico
How to watch the United States vs. Mexico
- Date: Friday, November 12
- Weather: 9 pm ET
- TV channels: ESPN2
- Spanish television: Univision, TUDN
- Transmission: fuboTV, ESPN +
MORE: CONCACAF World Cup Qualification and Qualification Schedule
The game will take place at Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium, the home of Major League Soccer’s FC Cincinnati, which opened in May.
USA vs. Mexico lineups
Berhalter revealed that Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen will start (although he said it could easily have been Matt Turner) and Chelsea star Christian Pulisic will not. When the roster was announced, he made it clear that Ricardo Pepi would be getting most of the minutes as a forward.
Projected US Starting Lineup (4-3-3, left to right): Zack Steffen-GK – Antonee Robinson, Miles Robinson, Walker Zimmerman, DeAndre Yedlin – Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah – Brenden Aaronson, Ricardo Pepi, Paul Arriola
Projected Subscribers in the US: Matt Turner-GK, Sean Johnson-GK, Joe Scally, Reggie Cannon, Mark McKenzie, Chris Richards, Sam Vines, Kellyn Acosta, Gianluca Busio, Sebastian Lletget, Cristian Roldan, Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Jesus Ferreira
Mexico comes into the game with headaches along the baseline, where centrals Néstor Araujo (suspended) and César Montes (injured) are out, and Héctor Moreno will be a decision at the time of the match. Coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino, who indicated that there are “some players with blows”, says that while waiting for Moreno’s availability, the central defensive duo will come from Gilberto ‘Tiba’ Sepúlveda, Julio César ‘Cata’ Domínguez or Johan Vasquez.
Mexico’s Projected Starting Lineup (4-3-3, left to right): Guillermo Ochoa-GK – Jesus Gallardo, Gilberto ‘Tiba’ Sepulveda, Johan Vasquez, Jorge Sanchez – Luis Romo, Edson Alvarez, Hector Herrera – Jose Manuel ‘Tecatito’ Corona, Raul Jimenez, Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano
Projected subscribers in Mexico: Rodolfo Cota-GK, Alfredo Talavera-GK, Hector Moreno, Julio Cesar ‘Cata’ Dominguez, Luis’ Chaka ‘Rodriguez, Osvaldo Rodriguez, Sebastian Cordova, Andres Guardado, Carlos’ Charly’ Rodriguez, Ricardo ‘Canelo’ Angulo, Roberto ‘Piojo ‘Alvarado, Orbelin Pineda, Henry Martin, Rogelio Funes Mori
United States vs. Mexico: betting odds and prediction
Fees courtesy of DraftKings
These two teams are even and it is difficult to choose a side. The total could be the best play.
In the last 10 years, 10 of the 15 matches between the teams have featured two or more goals. It can be a difficult affair between the two (although the US is 4-1-1 in World Cup qualifiers at home against Mexico since 1990), but there should be goals, especially given Mexico’s defensive personnel issues and his difficulties handling US set pieces. Mexico also has its first-choice forwards together, and a breakout match is expected.
MORE: How the United States Can Qualify for the World Cup
The “Asian Total Over 2” is a push if the goal total falls by two goals. There is a higher return for more risk on the “Asian Total Over 2.25” at +105, but you only get half your bet back if the match only goes to two goals.
Choose: More than 2 Asians in total (-130) or more than 2.25 Asians in total (+105)
Prediction: USA 2, Mexico 1
- Money line: USA +170 / Draw +195 / Mexico +175
- Propagation (Asian handicap): US PK (-110) / Mexico PK (-110)
- O / U 2.5 total goals: Over +135 / Under -175
- Both teams will score: Yes -110 / No -120
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.