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The 2nd of 14 matchdays from Concacaf’s World Cup qualifying group stage is now over, and at the top of the table, we have two teams that’ll be facing off on Wednesday: Mexico and Panama.
Panama, who are coming off an unexpected 3-0 away win against Jamaica over the weekend, have four points to their name from their first two matches.
Led by Danish manager Thomas Christiansen, they’ve had a promising start to the month.
That said, hosting Mexico will be one of their most difficult tests.
Unlike any other side in Concacaf, Mexico have claimed two consecutive victories during World Cup qualifying.
They’re finding their groove early on, and although they’ll be the visitors, Mexico should be the favorites against Panama.
Despite the fact that they failed to win the 2021 Gold Cup and the inaugural edition of the Concacaf Nations League, Mexico have had a fantastic start to World Cup qualifying.
They have two victories in a row, they’ve only allowed one goal, and at the time of writing, they’re comfortably sitting at the top of the group table.
Which perhaps isn’t all that surprising.
Although some warning signs emerged over the summer because of their lack of a regional title, Mexico still played some of the most attack-minded and exciting soccer in North America.
The end product was all that was missing, and in recent games, they seem to have finally fine-tuned that frontline enough to secure consistent wins.
What’s even more intriguing is that they can play better as well.
Mexico are capable of much more, and up against a Central American side that doesn’t typically steal too many points away from them, the Concacaf giants should earn a third win in a row.
In the last 10 games in all competitions, Panama have nine losses and one single draw vs Mexico.
Looking even further back, since 1981, Panama only have two wins against Mexico in their last 23 meetings.
There’s no doubt that Concacaf minnows are getting stronger with each passing year, but sadly for Panama, they have an immense amount of work to catch up to heavy hitters.
Keep in mind, the last time Panama faced off with Mexico in June of this year, they suffered through a 3-0 loss.
We need to give credit to Panama for claiming four points in their undefeated start, but we also need to recognize the details of their early process.
Earlier this month at home vs Costa Rica, Panama failed to find the back after launching 18 desperate attempts — and only two hit the target.
Then came the match against Jamaica last Sunday.
Jamaica are, on paper, a talented side. They have top names from Europe that should make them a threat to other Concacaf teams.
But nonetheless, many of these names also haven’t worked with each other very often or for very long.
No matter their talents, they need time to gel and adjust, and because of that, Jamaica will be one of the more vulnerable teams in Concacaf during the near future.
The same can’t be said of Mexico, and what’ll be much more challenging for Panama is the general assumption that Mexico are capable of playing at an even higher level.
Even with two wins in two games, it’s a bit odd to think that Mexico haven’t been at their best.
They’ve missed key chances, they’ve failed to capitalize on several dangerous opportunities, and yet, they have six points.
The good news despite all of this is that they have created enough shots and plays in the final third to compensate for these small mistakes.
Mexico should be winning these games by even bigger margins, and if they continue to improve, we might see a one-sided result against Panama on Wednesday.
|Panama vs Mexico Information|
|Teams||Panama vs Mexico|
|Location||Estadio Rommel Fernandez (Panama City, Panama)|
|Time||Wednesday, September 8th at 6:00 pm PT/9:00 pm ET|
|How to Watch||Telemundo|
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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