Mexico will start the second round of the CONCACAF U-20s today when they face the United States in Saprissa stadium. Mexico won Group A and will now play in Group D along with the United States and El Salvador, where the top two teams will qualify to the World Cup. The match comes at a surprise and happened because Panama beat out the US for the top spot in Group B.
Mexico has been the best team of the tournament so far. They won all games and played in a tougher group than the others qualified to the second round. Still, a clash against the United States is always a tough match. Mexico and the U.S, haven't faced each other in a CONCACAF U-20 tournament since the 2013 final. That match in Puebla showed something similar as Mexico was playing the best football in the tournament and the U.S. was missing some key players. The game wasn't decided until extra time and the U.S. even had some good chances to take the lead, until Mexico won the game 3-1.
Mexico had some trouble with the physical aspect of Honduras, especially in the first half where they were outplayed, and might suffer against the U.S. The Stars and Stripes is a bigger and more physical team than Honduras, although they don't have the skill-set of the Catrachos. That said, Mexico did come back to dominate the second half and win that game over Honduras..
While the US started out losing to Panama in a game where they had a one man advantage for most of the game, they managed to come back and beat Haiti and St. Kitts and Nevis. Their performance in those games, however, weren’t as praiseworthy and those teams are a lot weaker than both Mexico and El Salvador.
Mexico and the U.S. are each other’s biggest rivals and this game is key for both of them. Mexico has been the better team and will probably be favored, but these rivalry games are always a toss-up and more so with youth teams, which are famously known for their inconsistency. It will be a tough game throughout, and Mexico need to play their best if they want to come out of this game with a win.
Date: Monday, February 27
Time: 2:00 PM Pacific, 4:00 PM Central, 5:00 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Aymá, San Jose, Costa Rica