USMNT vs Mexico: A Concacaf Clasico to Determine a Spot in the Nations League Final

Tonight marks another chapter of the storied USA vs Mexico rivalry in the Nation’s League Semifinals. The USMNT looks to make it seven unbeaten against Mexico who are out to prove they deserve to be kings of Concacaf. The latest installment of the Concacaf Clasico will be yet another intense match, but who can get the win and move on to the Nations League Final?

Nations League Semifinal: USA vs Mexico

CINCINNATI, OH – NOVEMBER 12: United States midfielder Weston McKennie (8) talks to forward Christian Pulisic (10) during a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying game between the United States and Mexico on November 12, 2021 at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

The Concacaf Nations League is an interesting tournament that helps create more intense international competitions for national teams. The 2022/2023 installment has felt a little disjointed with the Men’s World Cup smushed in the middle of it. Nevertheless, the tournament is down to its final four teams, and the semifinal round sees the Concacaf Clasico take place.

USA vs Mexico is always a fun and interesting matchup. In the 2020/2021 Concacaf Nations League, these two nations played in a thriller of a final that saw the USMNT come out on top thanks to some stoppage-time heroics. Now the two nations meet, with the chance to play for yet another final!

These nations got to this point by getting out of their Nations League groups. The USMNT bested Grenada twice and drew El Salvador once, and also beat them another time. This landed the USA a top seed for the Nations League semifinals. Mexico beat Suriname twice and drew Jamaica twice. This saw them take a lesser space in the Nations League semifinals. All of this means that we get USA vs Mexico in the semifinal round and not the final of the 2022/2023 Nations League.

So what will we see tonight? Can Mexico show that they are a sleeping giant ready to awaken? Or can the USMNT show that they still have Mexico’s number extending their unbeaten streak against El Tri to seven games?

Mexico is a sleeping giant

DENVER, CO – JUNE 06: Mexico forward Jesus Corona (17) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in action during the CONCACAF Nations League finals between Mexico and the United States on June 06, 2021, at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, CO. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

Mexico use to be the perpetual king of Concacaf. They used to dominate the field and especially the USA. Just five years ago, Mexico bested the USMNT in the 2019 Gold Cup final. Since then, Mexico has lost a step. In 2021 Mexico lost to the USA in both the Nations League final and the Gold Cup final; since then, Mexico has lost and drew the USA in World Cup qualifying, and drew in a seemingly meaningless friendly. Can this Mexican group show that they are waking giants?

The consensus around world soccer is not right now. The roles have almost flipped. Mexico is the underdog and is seen as just a little bit of a lesser side compared to the USMNT. Mexico will likely play in a structured setup, either a back three or a back five. They’ll look to control the ball and move it from the wing to their attack. The problem that lies with Mexico right now is that they are injured and don’t have a great attacking presence.

If they are to beat the USA tonight, then they will have to create better opportunities in the final third. If they dice the USMNT defense and draw out their center backs then they could just beat this US side, and move on. They’ll have a home-field advantage in Las Vagas, which could push them to find a way to win this match.

Can the USMNT go unbeaten in seven straight vs Mexico?

The USMNT has beaten or drawn Mexico in their last seven matches. The last loss came way back in the Gold Cup final in 2019. It has been a bit of a renaissance for US Soccer as the men’s team has had some great players develop over the past few years. Now we get to see a virtually full-strength USA go up against a shorthanded Mexican side. We will definitely get to see the new USA striker Florian Balogun at some point in this match against Mexico. Can he power the USA to a win?

With or without Balogun the US side is poised to have a game that really suits them against Mexico. The USA loves to dominate the ball and play some beautiful soccer. They will have the chance to do that against this version of Mexico. Mexico will likely allow the USMNT to have the majority of possession while pressing them. If the USMNT players like Christian Pulisic, Timo Weah, Gio Reyna, Yunus Musah, and Weston McKennie can move the ball well, then they should be able to beat Mexico’s press and find one or two goals!

Will we see the USMNT continue its dominance over Mexico? or will El Tri make a statement that they are back? Either way, we are in for yet another great game of soccer! You won’t want to miss this action tonight; it’s another iteration of USA vs Mexico, the Concacaf Clasico! You can catch this match on Paramount+ or Univision, kickoff is set for 10 pm EST!

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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire