Mexico faces the United States in the Concacaf Nations League final on Sunday night, raising tensions and resuming the rivalry.
During the semifinals, the USMNT narrowly edged out Honduras, while Mexico had to go through penalties against Costa Rica to advance.
The countries last met in 2019, where Mexico defeated the United States 3-0 in a friendly. The United States suffered another loss that year as Mexico triumphed in the Gold Cup final. The stage is now set for USMNT to seek revenge as Mexico strives to maintain their dominance.
The United States struggled against Honduras, worrying head coach Gregg Berhalter ahead of the match against one of their fiercest competitors. Nearly 87 minutes of their semifinal match went by without action, before Jordan Siebatcheu stepped into the pitch. The substitute striker rocketed the ball into the top corner for the game-winning goal. But despite entering the match as clear favorites, the USMNT never really took control of the match.
Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffan will most likely make an appearance tonight as head coach Gregg Berhalter hopes they can be the deciding factor in the match. The two come off a European stint after playing in the UEFA Champions League final. During the semifinals, Berhalter also played MLS figures Sebastian Lletget and Jackson Yueill to their strengths to impact the opponent.
The USMNT has the talent and depth to create opportunities on the pitch, but the team struggles to finish. The side needs to seek sharpness if they hope to defeat El Tri.
Key players: Christian Pulisic, Sebastian Lletget and Jordan Siebatcheu
Despite advancing to the final, Mexico did not play like champions against Costa Rica. The two dragged out the 90 minutes before reaching penalties, where Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa dove to save the last shot to win it 5-4.
Mexico is currently led by former Atlanta United manager Tata Martino, instilling and demanding excellence from his side at all times. MLS player Alan Pulido failed to score, but proved himself on the pitch by creating several offensive opportunities and ultimately scoring during the penalty shootout.
Napoli winger Hirving Lozano and Ajax defender Edson Alvarez are usually standouts for Mexico, and while they performed adequately, audiences expected more. Tata Martino is likely to play Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera against the USMNT, but must be smooth on their feet to get past defenders.
Key players: Hector Herrera, Hirving Lozano and Edson Alvarez
Kick-off time: 9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific
Venue: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
TV: CBS Sports Network (English), TUDN (Spanish), Univision (Spanish)
Live stream: Paramount+ (App/Website), TUDN (App/Website), fuboTV