This as always will be intriguing when the United States takes on Mexico at the legendary Ateca Stadium in Mexico City. On my trips to Mexico City I can only say this stadium size wise just seems to go on forever.
One hundred thousand fans are expected tonight and one wonders who the pressure is really on?
With a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in crazed, snowy conditions this past Friday the script may slightly be flipped.
Maybe it is Mexico who is under the biggest pressure as they are expected to win and under heavy criticism for two draws in World Cup qualifying. The first was at Azteca against Jamaica and then last Friday after staking a 2-0 lead at Honduras manager Beppe de La Torre began to think ahead and replaced both Chicharito and Gio Dos Santos and the game changed.
To be fair they could have lost both of these games.
Yes the pressure is on in the soccer passionate country and it becomes even more magnified against your neighbors to the north.
U.S. defender Geoff Cameron has been quoted as saying that there will be time periods the U.S. can attack and take the pressure off. This will be essential as well as moments of good possession and controlling the game through set pieces.
After being scouted in Turkey at Bursaspor by assistant Andy Herzog it looks like Edu is all systems go to replace the injured Jermaine Jones . Klinsmann has mentioned outside of that the lineup will not likely change.
MEN IN MOTION
The fear of mobility and movement comes from Mexico in the form of Chicharito and Gio Dos Santos who both are ably supported by tremendous width and wide play from Javier Aquino and Andres Guardado.
They are small, quick, mobile and skilled and the U.S. midfield is going to have to be stellar in front of the back four which will likely remain the same.
CHEMISTRY, LEADERSHIP, TACTICS
The U.S. esprit de corps will be needed tonight and the leadership of players like Michael Bradley will be needed.
Defending for large periods of the game is going to be the norm tonight but the U.S. will need to find moments of their own pressure to alleviate duress and will get a few chances on this night for sure.
Control of the wide areas today can go a long way in hopefully taking the supply line away from Chicharito and And Gio Dos Santos.
The US must take the edge off of Javier Aquino and Andres Guardado. The ability of dos Santos to come back in the “hole” get turned and playmake is a worry so lines must be kept tight.
A night of great goalkeeping is warranted again for Brad Guzan who looked strong against Costa Rica. What an opportunity for the Aston Villa goalkeeper.
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