The day is finally here for a soccer rivalry that is always full of fight, intrigue, and normally hostile play. When the US and Mexico butt heads, it's usually not pretty. It also doesn't help that the Americans will be playing tonight in Aztec Stadium, which has been an impenetrable fortress for the Yanks. The US is 0-23-1 all time in games played in Mexico. That's right, it's not a typo. Other than 1 measly draw, the US can't find a way to break through in Mexico, especially in Aztec Stadium. The high altitude and 100,000+ insanely hostile fans creates an atmosphere that is tough for any team to come into and win.
In a preview piece ahead of the Gold Cup Final between the US and Mexico last year, I linked an article that paints a picture of what sort of atmosphere the USA will face tonight. For those that may have missed that article, I will link it again. It's definitely eye opening for US fans to grasp what the team will be facing tonight. Take a look. Although this is a "friendly", the fans of both teams definitely don't look at it as one.
Looking at the US roster, we will be missing a few key names tonight. Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore are just a few of the big names missing. These guys are getting ready for their new European campaigns to begin, so the roster has a definite younger look to it tonight. While you always want the most experienced team you can field in Aztec Stadium, getting some playing time for our youth players won't be a bad thing at all tonight. Sometimes being thrown directly into a cauldron like Aztec Stadium is the best way to acclimate the players to hostile environments. It's a chance for some of the youngsters to shine and show why they belong on the senior team permanently. Some of these guys are the future of the USMNT once the veteran players retire, and we need to see what they can do in big games and tough situations.
I am most concerned about the young backline we are featuring. There won't be a Carlos Bocanegra tonight, nor a Steve Cherundolo. It's time for the youngsters to show us what they have. Unfortunately they will be tasked with shutting down the likes of Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and Aldo de Nigris. We shall see what the backline is made of. Tim Howard will need to be on his game tonight. Although I would love to predict a US win I can't see it with this lineup. It will be a great learning experience though. I will pick a 3-1 Mexico win. As usual, please join us during the game to talk all things USMNT. Lineups will be posted when announced.