The second-ever Nations League is coming to a close this weekend, as the semifinals kick off Thursday, with Canada and Panama setting the table for the big one. USA vs Mexico. I’m here to give my prediction on how the latest installment of the region’s biggest rivalry will shape up. But first, here’s a trip down memory lane to 2021:
The Concacaf Nations League Final was an instant classic
USA vs. Mexico does not disappoint. pic.twitter.com/3wLff6h6Eq
— CBS Sports Golazo (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 12, 2021
The semifinal tomorrow has a lot to live up to. 2021 was easily the best Nations League final ever, but every USA-Mexico matchup has the potential for some fireworks. Here are some keys to the game and things to look out for.
USA vs Mexico: Previewing and Predicting the Concacaf Nations League Rematch
Mexico replaced Tata Martino with another Argentine coach, Diego Cocca. The US on the other hand, have yet to find the proper candidate, and will instead be coached by the second interim so far, BJ Callaghan. Anthony Hudson took the reigns once Gregg Berhalter’s contract was up, but Hudson stepped down just a couple of weeks ago. New sporting director Matt Crocker has reportedly interviewed ten plus candidates from all over the globe.
This will be the first time since 2018 that Gregg or Tata aren’t going to be on the touchline. It will be interesting to see what kind of game this is with two new managers at the helm.
Point to Prove?
It’s no secret. The USMNT has dominated Mexico within the region recently. Winning the Nations League final, and Gold Cup Final over Mexico in 2021, winning and drawing in World Cup qualifying, and despite Mexico finishing above the US in qualifying, the US were the only team in the region that made it out of the group stage at the 2022 World Cup. The Yanks haven’t lost a game to Mexico since September 2019, and while rivalries always get teams fired up, this feels like a game where Mexico needs to make a statement. As for the US, it’s a chance to firmly put their feet down as the top dog in Concacaf.
Since the wild 2021 Nations League Final that ended 3-2 after extra time, US/Mexico matches haven’t necessarily been the best. 1-0, 2-0, 0-0, 1-1 have been the recent results, and I’m expecting a similar outcome. I think it may be a little stagnant to start, with two managers feeling each other out, and I could see this being 0-0 at halftime. I really wanna do it, and predict a Dos a Cero, but I can’t see Mexico going scoreless.
2-1 USA. Balogun and Reyna for the US. Santi Gimenez for El Tri.
Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports, of a Joe Scally Headshot, on June 5, 2022.
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