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It is game day for the USMNT as they take on arch-nemesis, Mexico, in a top-of-the-group World Cup Qualifier clash between the two giants of Concacaf.
The US, led by Gregg Berhalter, are looking to continue their fantastic run of wins against Mexico, beating them in both the Nations League and Gold Cup over the summer. Meanwhile, El Tri is trying to maintain their place at the top of the Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers group.
Unlike Mexico, the US has had an up and down World Cup Qualifying so far. The Yanks started off slow, drawing to both El Salvador and Canada before getting two convincing wins over Honduras and Jamacia.
However, the US faced yet another setback when they lost to Panama away from home in arguably their worst performance of the year.
USMNT vs Mexico will take place in Cincinnati and a brand new soccer-specific stadium, TQL Stadium. As manager Gregg Berhalter stated in a press conference, despite being home for the past two games against Mexico, it was a very mixed crowd of USMNT vs Mexico fans, however, this game will be packed with USMNT supporters.
The USMNT’s lineup is the main question coming into the game. Zack Steffen was announced as the starter, however, with the injury of Sergino Dest and Gio Reyna as well as John Brooks not being included in the squad, a lot of new faces will appear for the USMNT.
One of these faces is Joe Scally, an 18-year-old born on New Year's Eve of 2002. Scally, a New York native, played for the New York Red Bulls Youth Academy, however, he was then released and joined NYCFC.
From there, Scally signed a professional contract at 15 years old before making a move to Germany where he is now at Bourrisa Monchengladbach. Monchengladbach’s sporting director stated that he believes Scally has been their best player this season.
Scally is one of many new faces to be featured in the pool of players for the upcoming game against Mexico, another is none other than Ricardo Pepi.
Pepi, a native of El Paso, Texas, comes from Mexican heritage. The 18-year-old represented both the US and Mexico at the youth level before choosing to play for the USMNT for the senior level. Since then, Ricardo Pepi has had a special place in the hearts of every American soccer fan, scoring three goals in his first four appearances.
A tough blow for the USMNT will be the question surrounding star player, Christian Pulisic. Pulisic recently resumed training with Chelsea after being out for 2 months with an injury. Since then, the kid from Hershey has yet to play 45 total minutes.
Gregg Berhalter assured everyone that he won’t push Pulisic and he won’t get the start against Mexico.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a super sub.
These are two very good teams. Mexico was Wolves striker Raul Jiminez who is recently coming off of a 9-month injury due to a skull fracture, meanwhile, the USMNT have Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams, two players playing some of the best soccer of their lives at the moment.
As mentioned previously, I think the key to this game is using Christian Pulisic as a super sub. I go with McKennie bagging the first goal, before Mexico equalizing around sixty minutes in.
If Pulisic comes on, he can and will change the game. Mix that with the electrifying talents of Brenden Aaronson on the other wing and Mexico is in for a rude awakening.
Tyler Adams will find the back of the net in the 88th minute, scoring the goal that helps propel the USMNT over Mexico.
As for starting lineups go, my ideal lineup (with following the announcements Berhalter already has made, as I would go for Turner over Steffen) is Steffen, (left to right in the back) Antonee Robinson, Miles Robinson, Chris Richards, Joe Scally. In the midfield, Adams at CDM with McKennie and Musah at attacking. And up top (left to right) I’d place Brenden Aaronson, Ricardo Pepi, and Tim Weah.
Overall, these are the giants of Concacaf, and whenever they clash you can expect one thing, intensity. The USMNT has brought in a lot of great talents, however, they also need to bring in the one thing they were lacking in their loss to Panama, intensity.
A writer who loves to learn and share.
All Editorials written by Chris Dailey