The United States men’s national team has traveled to Mexico City where they will face Mexico on Thursday night in World Cup qualifying. Just three games remain for each, and neither has been able to punch a ticket to Qatar in what’s a tight race in Concacaf. Kickoff from the Estadio Azteca is set for 10 p.m. ET, and you can watch the match live on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+. A win here for either will have them on the verge of qualifying, a loss for either will ramp up the pressure, while a draw could be beneficial for both. However, El Tri will be going for the win to snap a three-game losing streak against the red, white and blue, while the U.S. will aim to make it four straight wins over Mexico for the first time in history.
We will be with you the entire way providing updates, analysis and highlights below.
How to watch and odds
Date: Thursday, March 24 | Time: 10 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio Azteca — Mexico City, Mexico
TV: CBS Sports Network | Live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Mexico -105; Draw +210; USA +305 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
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For a deeper dive on Pulisic, James Benge took a look at how Gregg Berhalter can get the most out of him
Can Pulisic be given space to shoot?
Benge says, “He may wear a No.10 shirt and start on the wings but in many ways it is better to think of Pulisic as something like the modern incarnation of a penalty box poacher. In 2022 you cannot simply stand around and wait for the ball to come to you but must instead time your runs to perfection.”
This is also a night where Christian Pulisic will be relied on with so many key attackers missing for Gregg Berhalter
He can parley his good form for Chelsea into the national team says, Booth
“Since returning to the starting lineup for Chelsea in mid-February, Pulisic has scored three goals and assisted one more in all competitions which will help him come into the biggest game of his young national team career in good form. Pulisic is no stranger to big games having scored seven Champions League goals while assisting eight more but the pressure at Azteca always manifests in different ways.”
One returning player who will provide quite the boost is Gio Reyna
I wrote about how he could be used during these qualifiers
“Reyna prefers being a central playmaker but his versatility works well for both Dortmund and the USMNT. A Berhalter winger needs to be adept centrally as they’re expected to cut inside and either shoot or create chances to take advantage of fullback overlaps in wide areas. Likely linking up with Reggie Cannon on the right, Reyna will spend as much time wandering centrally as he does hugging the touchline to ensure that teams can’t get a read on him.”
Azteca — a scary place
Ah, Estadio Azteca. The biggest stadium in Latin America and one of the most daunting places for an opposing team to visit. Do you know what the USMNT’s history inside the stadium is? They’ve never won a World Cup qualifier there, and in fact, there’s just been one USA victory.
I took a look at the team’s all-time record there and more here.
Three keys for USMNT
I picked three keys for the U.S. ahead of this match, and they were…
Emphasize defense in the midfield
Make it ugly
Draw those fouls in attack
You can read that story here.
A lot goes on behind the scenes in a rivalry like this one where so many have ties with each country
Check out the match preview from the In Soccer We Trust podcast!
And make sure to return after the match for the crew’s breakdown of what happened!
Mexico isn’t having to deal with the injury issues the U.S. has. In fact, most of Mexico’s core team will be available for Gerardo Martino. I wrote about that here in our match preview.
With a victory and some extra help, either the United States or Mexico can book a trip to Qatar tonight if…
Panama loses to Honduras and Costa Rica loses or draws vs. Canada: This would put either team seven points ahead of Panama and seven or eight points ahead of Costa Rica.
Check out other scenarios for tonight
Mexico: No Luis Rodriguez, Carlos Salcedo, Miguel Layun or Diego Reyes in defense, means some young guys will get chances, but the staples of Nestor Araujo, Hector Moreno and Jesus Gallardo are there. Young, talented Johan Vasquez (Genoa) and Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy) are also in the squad and could potentially have roles off the the bench. But, the expectation is for a veteran-led squad everywhere on the pitch, with Hector Herrera manning the middle. In attack, expect Raul Jimenez to be flanked by Jesus Corona and Hirving Lozano and for this team to aim to dominate possession and be ultra patient in attack to limit the counter.
United States: Among the players missing are star goalkeeper Matt Turner, Barcelona right back Sergino Dest, Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie, winger Brenden Aaronson and striker Daryl Dike. Berhalter has to find options to replace them. For Turner, Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen is expected to slide back into the starting role, having played well against El Tri in the 2-0 win in November. Not having Dest opens up a chance for Reggie Cannon or DeAndre Yedlin, one would think. But the big question is when it comes to McKennie. Does Gregg Berhalter put Yunus Musah in the box-to-box role next to Tyler Adams? Musah’s defense has improved but he’s still a significant downgrade on that side of the ball. That would allow Luca de la Torre be the creator along side them. Or does Kellyn Acosta start next to Adams and then make Musah the engine in the middle to get the attack going? His team selection will be telling as how to they approach this match.
With all the injuries around the squad where’s the panic level for qualifying?
Chuck Booth took a look and voiced his concern about the USMNT attack which will need to stand up tonight.
“Five strikers have logged minutes for the national team during qualifying with none logging more than 600 minutes. In fact, after Ricardo Pepi, no striker has logged more than 200 minutes as Berhalter figures out who needs to lead the line.” Said Booth, Pepi has been the most effective of the bunch, but his Bundesliga acclimation isn’t going well and it has impacted his national team form too. Chopping and changing your strikers never lets them get into a rhythm but a striker hasn’t performed well enough to earn the spot yet.”
Welcome to the CBS Sports live blog of World Cup qualifying! It’s the United States men’s national team at Mexico at 10 p.m. ET! You can see this match live on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+! The Estadio Azteca is expected to be rockin’ for this crucial Concacaf qualifier! It’s not a must-win for either team, really, but Mexico will be expected to hold serve at home. If either team wins, they’ll be on the verge of qualifying for Qatar 2022. I’m Roger Gonzalez, and I’ll be providing updates alongside Chuck Booth!