Samuel's Soccer Safe Space for Stoolies
Nothing better than a USA vs Mexico matchday. Such a great rivalry.
Our southern neighbors have the edge overall (36 wins vs 19 wins) but believe it or not – the haters won’t like to hear this – we have more wins (14 vs 6) since 2000… and most importantly of all we beat their dick in on the one occasion that actually really truly mattered:
What a great way to get the Summer of Soccer kicked off in earnest. And yes, stay tuned for previews of the Euros and Copa America (which kickoff next weekend) but for now let’s focus on the biggest, baddest, bestest dærby that CONCACAF has to offer…
RECAP: USMNT 1-0 Honduras (Thursday)
The sooner we forget about this game, the better.
Poor outing from a lot of the team and a downright shameful performance from the Hondos who started wasting time roughly 25 minutes in trying to play for penalties… and it almost worked as the US missed a handful of great chances (eg Reyna/Sargent/Pulisic) before late sub Jordan Siebatchu stepped up and officially earned his stars and stripes:
Here were my thoughts immediately after the final whistle:
And some additional observations after I re-watched the game:
USA vs Mexico
The available roster is the same as it was against Honduras:
If I were Gregggggg, this is the XI that I would start:
KEEPER: Zack Steffen made one glaring mistake in wandering off his line that probably should have cost us a goal in the first half against Honduras (if not for Josh Sargent’s goal-saving clearance off the line), which is definitely concerning,
but he also made a massive save on a breakaway in the second half.
Not the best risk/reward but hard to imagine him losing the #1 gloves after a shutout… especially since our second best keeper – Matt Turner (unbiased opinions only) – is not available.
DEFENSE: Reggie Cannon is a better one-on-one defender than Antonee Robinson and that is going to be a little more important this game so I’d slot him in on the right, slide Sergiño Dest over to LB and push Robinson on the bench. As far as CBs go, John Brooks was our best all-around player on Thursday and is a must-start. The second CB is less clear cut. Mark McKenzie may be the next best option but he looked tentative against Honduras so I’d be fine with Matt Miazga instead, especially since it would definitely rile up Mexico fans. Hard to very hard NO on Ream (but I have a bad feeling).
MIDFIELD: Tyler Adams’ health is the key unknown. Jackson Yueill was off the pace vs Honduras so if Adams is not ready then Kellyn Acosta likely starts. Adams is clearly the best option though, and it is not even close, so if he is out that is a big blow. A little further upfield, I am hoping Berhalter goes with Yunus Musah over Sebastian Lletget. I am not a Lletget hater, and in fact he has been a lot better than most people realize/are willing to admit, but he wasn’t productive on Thursday and Musah has the highest ceiling.
FORWARDS: Reyna was very good on Thursday and impossible to imagine Christian Pulisic not starting against Mexico… so the only question is Josh Sargent or Jordan Siebatchu. I think that Sargent is our best bet longer term and I am usually a big proponent of giving minutes to the guys that will be out there when it matters [ie, the World Cup], so no major complaints if he does start but I also think it makes sense to start the more in-form striker in Siebatchu in a one-off game against Mexico for a trophy.
WILD CARD: there seem to be some whispers that Berhalter may be considering a formational change and going with a 3-5-2. I have to assume this would be a response to Adams NOT being ready. That would obviously mean some notable changes, and if he starts Ream over Miazga as the third CB I am going to lose my sht, but rather than delving too far into the hypotheticals I’ll just leave it at that for now.
Mexico – Scouting Report
El Tri is an experienced team that will be the clear betting favorite on Sunday. They are anchored by usual faces like Hector Moreno and Carlos Salcedo, and have potential difference makers up top in Rodolfo Pizarro (Miami) and Chooky Lozano (Napoli). However, anybody who watched their game on Thursday against a shorthanded Costa Rica side will know they looked extremely meh. The same could be said about the US vs Honduras, of course, but if the Mexicans play like that again there is no reason that we – especially with an Adams/McKennie duo controlling things in the middle – couldn’t give them some real problems.
Let’s not kid ourselves, this is gonna be a tough game. The last couple times we have faced Mexico there was a clear difference in class… but that was then and this is with Pulisic, Reyna, McKennie and (god willing) Adams in midfield. In fact, the battle for control in the middle will be the most interesting aspect of game if both teams have their first-choice players out there.
It’s hard not to like some sort of low-scoring 1-0 or 1-1 game based on how both teams played on Thursday, so someone looking to make a few quid could be forgiven for dabbling on the under, but thankfully I am not smart and don’t care about money so there is really only one choice that makes even a little bit of sense:
Prediction: USMNT win Dos a Cero
Here’s to the Summer of Soccer. Euros and Copa America start next week. Bless up.