The United States Men’s National Team looks to move on from its Gold Cup disappointment as it takes on Mexico on September 6 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The match is the first for either side since Mexico defeated the USMNT 1-0 in the 2019 Gold Cup Final.
El Tri is 4-0-1 in its past five matches (all Gold Cup Games) and holds a 35-19-15 all-time record against the USMNT. Head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino selected a strong roster, featuring many of the stars that missed the Gold Cup.
Mexico’s Projected Lineup:
Mexico’s #1 Guillermo Ochoa will start in goal. Ochoa is a talented, veteran shot-stopper who organizes his defense well. However, he occasionally struggles with crosses.
Look for Carlos Salcedo to get the nod at centerback along with a more inexperienced player such as Cesar Montes. Salcedo is a good dribbler and strong tackler, but suffers from lapses in concentration and commits too many fouls.
Montes is a good passer and dominant in the air, standing 6’3”, although he lacks the strength centerbacks typically possess.
Jesus Gallardo seems likely to start at left back. He is extremely fast and a good crosser. However, his tackling is often poor.
Expect Luis Rodriguez to feature at right back. Rodriguez is even faster than Gallardo and is a decent passer; however, he is prone to drifting out of position.
Look for a central midfield trio of Jonathan Dos Santos, Hector Herrera, and Edson Alvarez. Dos Santos and Alvarez will drop deep to shield the backline, while Herrera will be given more freedom to join the attack.
Dos Santos excels at intercepting passes, is a good tackler, and has an excellent passing range. He probably doesn’t create as many chances as he should, but Mexico has plenty of talented attackers.
Alvarez, who primarily plays as a centerback at the club level, is an excellent one v. one defender and tackler. His main weaknesses are his dribbling and his tendency to get caught out of position when used as a midfielder.
Herrera is a nearly two-footed, box-to-box midfielder who possesses impressive stamina. He is also an excellent man-maker and short passer. His only significant weakness is his finishing.
Coach Tata Martino has an abundance of offensive options, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the attackers on the roster start against the USMNT.
I believe Marco Fabian will earn the nod at right wing. Fabian is a dangerous dribbler and lethal finisher. However, he commits too many fouls and is very inconsistent.
Look for Hiring Lozano to feature on the left wing. Lozano accelerates quickly and is an elite playmaker and finisher (he recorded 40 goals and 23 assists in 79 matches with PSV Eindhoven before joining Napoli in August). He offers little defensively, but will not be asked to defend much for El Tri.
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has an excellent chance to feature as a striker. Chicharito has struggled in recent years, but on his best days he is still a dangerous poacher and surprisingly good in the air despite being just 5’9.”
This match will likely be another intense battle between the USMNT and Mexico. Mexico is the better team, and I’m expecting El Tri to walk away with a 2-1 victory.