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It all comes down to this.
After a nervy semifinal round of the Concacaf Nations League that featured narrow wins for the victors, both Mexico and the United States now find themselves in this Sunday’s championship game.
Thanks to a late goal in the 89th minute from Jordan Siebatcheu, the US men’s national team were able to clinch a 1-0 win over Honduras during the semifinal round on Thursday.
As for Mexico in their respective semi on the same day, after a 0-0 draw in regulation time with Costa Rica, an ensuing penalty shootout eventually tipped in their favor.
With goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa providing a crucial save in a sudden death round for the penalties, Mexico were able to sneak away with a place in the Nations League championship.
|Battered and both given a wake-up call by minnows, Mexico and the United States have plenty of improvements that could be made before the weekend’s title-winning match.
That said, Mexico fans should feel more confident about their team’s chances.
|Mexico vs United States Information|
|Teams||Mexico vs United States|
|Location||Empower Field at Mile High (Denver, Colorado)|
|Time||Sunday, June 6th at 9:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||Univision, TUDN, Paramount+|
Once again, Concacaf minnows proved to be the Davids against the Goliaths of the soccer region.
In spite of what ultimately ended in losses for Costa Rica and Honduras, both of the Central American sides were incredibly impressive in their narrow losses to Mexico and the United States, respectively.
For Mexico, they weren’t able to find the back of the net against a Costa Rican side that were more than happy to give up possession and focus on more of a physical style of play.
It wasn’t until an eventual penalty shoot-out that Mexico eventually scraped past Costa Rica and into the final Nations League round.
The United States, in their earlier semifinal match, needed a late game-winning header from Siebatcheu to clinch a victory over Honduras.
And although the USMNT did ultimately find the back of the net, they undoubtedly struggled more than their fellow and upcoming finalists in the recent Nations League matchday.
Honduras went toe-to-toe with the United States on Thursday.
Regardless of the fact that the USMNT eventually left with the win, Honduras were able to create the same amount of shots (9) as the United States.
In fact, when looking at shots on target from the game, Honduras had six as opposed to the five from the USMNT.
In comparison with Mexico — who had 12 shots in their win — opponents Costa Rica only had five during the game.
On a different night, the United States could have earned a loss on Thursday, and as for Sunday, they could be facing a Mexico side that will be rejuvenated.
Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino has hinted about the idea of the return for Jesus “Tecatito” Corona.
Tecatito, who is on paper one of the most skillful members of the roster and in the Concacaf region, was a potential doubt for Thursday’s game but is expected to get minutes at some point this week.
After missing out on Thursday’s semifinal, all signs point to the dynamic winger being available for Sunday’s title match against the United States.
And with Hirving Lozano on the other wing, it’s difficult to say that the USMNT will be able to halt an attack that has both of the world-class attackers.
Even with the youthful boost that you see within the United States, manager Gregg Berhalter still seems to have a team that has potential but that is a work-in-progress.
We’ve seen it in results and we’ve seen the excitement that surrounds his project, but in the end, there is much that needs to be proved.
In the current state that the Mexican national team is in, Martino has the tactical and trained advantage.
It may not be the best squad that Mexico has ever had, but Martino has made them extremely efficient.
When mistakes happen as well — as seen on Thursday — Martino typically finds a way out with his knowledgeable eye that has made him well-respected in world soccer.
Martino will be the difference.
Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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