Here is how the two teams will line up for tonight’s CONCACAF Cup showdown at the Rose Bowl…
USA starting XI: Brad Guzan; Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley; Kyle Beckerman, Jermaine Jones, Gyasi Zardes, Michael Bradely [c]; Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore
Mexico Starting XI: Moises Munoz; Paul Aguilar, Hector Moreno, Diego Reyes, Miguel Layun; Hector Herrera, Rafa Marquez [c], Andres Guardado; Oribe Peralta, Javier Hernandez
The US national team and Mexico face off in the CONCACAF Cup tonight at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, with a place at the 2017 Confederations Cup up for grabs.
For US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the pressure has been cranked up ahead of his side’s meeting with their bitter rivals following a disappointing fourth-place finish at the summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup – the team’s worst performance at the tournament since 2000.
US Soccer president Sunil Gulati has continued to stress that the German’s job will be safe regardless of Saturday’s result but, with supporters growing increasingly disillusioned with his leadership, a defeat to the regional champions would raise serious questions about his position.
USA legend Landon Donovan has already gone on record this week saying that the man who left him off the 2014 World Cup roster should be held accountable if the States lose, although Klinsmann himself has been laughing off criticism ahead of the game.
“That’s the beautiful part of it — we all discuss the game, we all have different opinions, and we all love it. We all love the sport,” he told MLSoccer.com on Friday. “There’s no perfect coach, and there’s no perfect player ever.
“People can have their feelings and opinions, and that’s totally cool.”
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 11, 2015
Klinsmann certainly has history on his side going into Saturday’s showdown, having gone undefeated against Mexico since taking over the US in 2011, recording three wins and three draws.
In fact, the 51-year-old World Cup winner never lost to El Tri as a player either, while he also claimed a win over them during his time in charge of the German national team.
With Alejandro Bedoya the only major absentee through illness, his side are at nearly full strength for the match but, despite being the hosts, will have to deal with a pro-Mexico crowd of over 90,000 on the night.
The visitors, meanwhile, are missing both Giovani dos Santos and defensive midfielder Juan Jose Vasquez but are able to call on Rafa Marquez and Andres Guardado after the pair recovered from their respective injuries in time to make the line-up.
The game is set to be interim boss Ricardo Ferretti’s last in charge before former Sao Paulo manager Juan Carlos Osorio takes the reins, and he will be looking to end his three-match tenure on a high by reclaiming continental bragging rights over Klinsmann’s men.