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Mexico vs. Jamaica, Copa America 2016: Match Preview

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Mexico started off Copa America Centenario on the right foot. Their 3-1 victory over Uruguay, not only extended their winning streak, but also sent a message to the rest of the teams in their group and tournament. El Tri is now heading to the closest thing to Estadio Azteca in the US, the Rose Bowl, where they will meet Jamaica Thursday evening.

The Reggae Boyz, on the other hand, stumbled in their first game falling 1-0 to a very young Venezuelan team and losing their captain for the match against Mexico due to a red card.

Mexico comes into the match having lost a key player as well. The team will be without midfielder Andres Guardado. El Principito made two unnecessary fouls which garnished yellow cards and got him ejected Sunday night. His presence in the midfield will definitely be missed as he has recently been one of El Tri's best players and arguably their best midfielder. Being that Osorio's midfield options are limited, if you had to choose a game for Guardado to miss, this group stage match against Jamaica is the one. Guardado's replacement will most likely be Miguel Layun who is not one of the midfielders on the roster but stepped into the LCM role on Sunday when Guardado was ejected and was actually more impactful.

Osorio has been hard to predict when it comes to line ups and formations. His philosophy of game planning and strategizing for each individual opponent is largely the basis for his unpredictability. However, against an opponent like Jamaica who will likely sit back and counter, it would not be surprising to see Osorio come out with a similar formation as the one we saw Sunday night (3-1-2-3-1). Osorio's adjustments will likely come in the lineup—primarily, because he will be without Guardado and secondly, because he will want to send in a squad that will be able to match Jamaica's speed and strength.

Mexico's backline was solid against Uruguay, so it is unlikely that Osorio will make a modification there. Where we might see some adjustments is at holding midfielder. Diego Reyes was largely nonexistent on Sunday night, and Jesus Molina and Jesus Dueñas are two players who are familiar with that position and might be able to provide more fluidity to the midfield.Layun, as previously mentioned, would replace Guardado, and Herrera would step back into right central midfield where Layun played Sunday. As for the role of attacking midfielder, Osorio might look to go with Gullit Peña or Raul Jimenez behind Chicharito. Both players have ball control and are physical enough to match up with the Jamaican defenders.

Chucky Lozano is also someone who might start from the beginning of the game. His speed and ability to take on defenders is something Osorio may want to use to exploit the right flank and start him over Aquino. Regardless of the variations to the lineup, El Tri will need to use their speed and precision passing to create space versus a Jamaican team that will look to defend with 9 men, or at times even 10 men.

Jamaica is very familiar with Mexico's style of play, but this is the first time playing against Osorio's version of El Tri. While they will be without Captain Rodolph Austin and might not have as much talent as Mexico, they are a very fast and strong team who can beat you on a counter-attack. Their physicality will also be an issue on corners and free kicks. Mexico needs to be mindful not to foul Jamaica on their end of the pitch because as we saw against Uruguay, set pieces are a liability, and Jamaica will use those to take advantage of Mexico.

Mexico will look to wrap up a birth into the quarterfinals with a victory over Jamaica. Two wins in as many games would put El Tri in the driver's seat of Group C with a clear opportunity to run away with all 9 points of the group stage. Jamaica will not be an easy opponent, but Mexico has the quality and talent to get a comfortable victory Thursday evening.

LAST MEETING

Mexico 3-1 Jamaica -€” July 26, 2015 -€” Gold Cup 2015

Mexico defeated The Reggae Boyz, 3-1, in the Gold Cup Final on their way to their 10th Gold Cup title.

LIKELY LINE-UPS

Mexico (3-1-2-3-1) Talavera; Moreno, Marquez, Araujo, Molina, Herrera, Layun, Tecatito, Lozano, Peña, Chicharito.

Jamaica (4-4-2) Blake; Watson,Mariappa, Taylor, Morgan, Mcanuff, Binns, Hector, McClearly, Donaldson, Bames.