Mexico is set to face their biggest challenge in the group stage when they face the United States, who many consider to be the best team in the competition along with El Tri.
It may well be a preview of the final of the competition. Both teams are arriving after huge victories in their first game and the winner of this match should be the favorite to win the group.
Mexico had as good as of a start as they expected, beating El Salvador 6-0. While Mexico was clearly the favorite, most people didn't think the difference in talent was going to be that great. Jairo Torres in particular gave El Salvador all sort of trouble. An early second half goal and El Salvador defenders cramping out (to the point they finished with eight players after three of them left the game with all subs had already been made) meant that Mexico was able to put their foot off the pedal and take things easy for this game.
Still, the United States will be a whole different beast. Not only are they the biggest rival for Mexico,regardless of youth level, but the team is considered to be the only one in the same level, a level higher than anybody else in CONCACAF. Mexico wining the physical battle was key in their victory and it probably will not happen against the US. The US is as fast or faster than Mexico and should be solid defensively.
The United States also had a great start as they defeated Jamaica 5-0. Although it was clear a victory, they had to work for it. The score remained 1-0 until the 77th minute and 2-0 until the 87th minute. In that regard, the US couldn't take their foot off the pedal like Mexico did, and it’s also worth noting they played in a hotter climate than Mexico did. Although, it's a slight advantage, it still is something. The US is also in the same boat in regards to facing their toughest challenge in the tournament, and while physically they could be better, technically they shouldn't be. At the end of the day, they are playing a team in a category in which they are an actual world powerhouse in.
Mexico and the US should be the best game so far in the competition. The teams recently faced each other in Mexico City and Mexico came out on top 6-3, to win the Torneo de Naciones Cup. Most of the players of that game will be playing on Wednesday for both teams, and tactically, both teams have their defense as their weakest point point. As such, it should be the team that takes more advantage of this who should come out on top.
Date: Tuesday, April 26
Time: 3:30 PM Pacific, 5:30 PM Central, 6:30 PM Eastern
Venue: Estadio Maracana, Panama City, Panama
Television: Univision Deportes Network (US), TVC Deportes (Mexico)