It’s the biggest international rivalry in North America and one of the biggest in the world. It’s the bald eagle against the golden eagle. It’s USA vs. Mexico.
Jurgen Klinsmann announced the US roster on Sunday with 13 MLS players, five Liga MX players and the remainder from various other leagues. Most intriguing among the Liga MX call ups are William Yarbrough and Ventura Alvardo, both of whom are dual nationals being pursued by both Klinsmann and Miguel Herrera. Juan Agudelo makes his return to the national team after more than a year, now that his club situation has been resolved. Jozy Altidore is suspended for the red card he received in Switzerland (yes red card suspensions carry over in friendlies) and Clint Dempsey is out with an injured thigh.
With only three more games (and possibly a fourth with a friendly against Australia being rumored for some time) before the start of the Gold Cup, the US has several issues it needs to address. The continued trend of conceding goals late into games has now reached crisis level. The US has conceded at least one goal after the 80th minute in 11 of the last 15 games. Another disturbing trend is that the offense dries up in the second half. Since the World Cup the US has done very well in the first half of games, scoring 11 goals. But then in the second half they have scored just once. During 2012 and 2013, the US looked like the masters of scoring clutch goals in the last minutes of games. Now it seems that they are the masters of conceding clutch goals in the last minutes of games. The pressure is firmly on Jurgen Klinsmann to improve the side’s form and if he doesn’t win the Gold Cup his job could be in jeopardy.
Mexico’s roster was released on Wednesday. The headliner is Erick “Cubo” Torres currently on loan from Houston Dynamo to Chivas Guadalajara until the end of the Liga MX season, while Club America striker Oribe Peralta has been left home for personal reasons. Mexico has an even busier 2015 than the US does with several big time friendlies, the Gold Cup and the Copa America. Mexico comes into this game on a roll, having lost only once since the World Cup (a 3-2 loss away to Belarus) with a record of 6-1-1 since that controversial loss to the Netherlands (whom Mexico has subsequently played and beaten). So far in 2015, Mexico has a pair of 1-0 friendly wins over Ecuador and Paraguay.
• Michael Bradley leads all active US players in scoring against Mexico with 4 goals.
• Jozy Altidore scored his first international goal against Mexico in 2008.
• Clint Dempsey has never scored against Mexico.
• Javier “Chicharito’ Hernandez has never scored against the US.
• Since 2007, Mexico has played more games in the US (76) than they have in Mexico (35).
San Antonio, Texas
USA trails 18-33-14
University of Phoenix Stadium
2 USA Mexico 2
Next Game Up
USA @ Netherlands
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