The US and Mexico will face off on Thursday at Mexico’s Estadio Azteca, where the two teams will write the next chapter in their storied rivalry. While the match is a CONCACAF qualifier, the pressure will be heaped on both sides for different reasons.
Captain Christian Pulisic and USA have gotten the best of Mexico in recent matchups, including an emphatic 2-0 win in Cincinnati during World Cup Qualifiers in November. But Estadio Azteca is not Cincinnati, and the US men’s squad has never recorded a win at Mexico’s national stadium.
Here’s how the two teams could line up for Thursday’s clash:
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While Mexico’s squad doesn’t boast the star power that the US does, mainstays like goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and forwards Raul Jimenez and Hirving Lozano could provide valuable experience and stability.
Atletico Madrid’s Hector Herrera is expected to start in midfield alongside Edson Alvarez and a replacement for injured captain Andres Guardado. Nestor Araujo is likely to keep command of the defense as Mexico has conceded no goals in their last two games.
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Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Ochoa (GK) -- Gallardo, Moreno, N. Araujo, L. Rodriguez -- Herrera, Alvarez, C. Rodriguez -- Lozano, Jimenez, Tecatito
USA will have to make some changes from their usual starting lineup considering Weston McKennie and Serginho Dest, who play for Juventus and Barcelona respectively, are both injured for the game.
Pulisic is all but certain to start and take the captain’s armband, while Giovanni Reyna is reportedly fit for the game. Youngster Yunus Musah has made an impression during recent games which may earn him a starting spot at forward. Zack Steffen will probably start in goal as backup Matt Turner is injured.
Kellyn Acosta and Tyler Adams are likely to start together in midfield after forming an effective partnership over the course of the recent qualifiers.
Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Steffen (GK) -- Zimmerman, A. Robinson, Cannon, M. Robinson -- Acosta, Adams, Musah -- Pulisic, Reyna, Pepi