US v Mexico in Gold Cup Final Tonight

Filed under: Sport |

Tonight sees the US take on Mexico in the final of the Gold Cup. This will be the third time in a row that the CONCACAF giants played in the final and the Americans will surely be looking to avenge their 5-0 thrashing from 2009.

The U.S. has slowly improved their game throughout the tournament and some have out this down to Bob Bradley’s continued presence on the sideline. Bradley will most likely go with a 4-2-3-1 formation while Mexico will favor a 4-4-1-1 line up.  The possible absence of Andres Guardado means that Aldo de Negris will come in as the second striker, while Giovanni Dos Santos will move to the left wing. On the US team you can almost certainly expect Landon Donovan to start in favor of a disappointing Kljestan performance against Panama.

The U.S. has had the majority of possession in its last few games but that is likely to change as Mexico, with their more technically sound midfielders, will attempt to control the game by playing a higher tempo style of play.  The biggest worries for Bob Bradley are his central defenders and missing striker. Goodson has really not played at a high enough level to deal with someone who has the pace of Hernandez or his skill while Cherundolo and Goodson both have had trouble watching runners coming off their backs as we saw against Jamaica.

With injury ruling Jozy Altidore out of the final,  Juan Agudelo will almost certainly start at the front but arguably the biggest issue with the U.S.’s lack of a goal scorer, aside from Dempsey or Donovan, is that they throw large numbers forward when on the offense and that means they become very susceptible to quick breaks. This is something of a worry as the Mexican’s will undoubtedly look to exploit this weakness with their much quicker wingers and forwards.

Something else to look out for will also be the battle in the midfield where the U.S. has their most talent. So far Bob Bradley has had his wide players come into the middle and have let the fullbacks (generally Cherundolo and Lichaj) overlap on the wings. This has resulted in increased possession for the Americans in the middle with Bradley and Jones bringing up the rear when the United States is going forward. El Tri play with two holding midfielders similarly to the U.S. but they act as part of a fluid defense rather than a component of the offense and the end result is that this leaves Mexico nearly always with an extra man at the back when they lose the ball.

Overall it may seem as if the United State are inferior in most aspects of the game but this isn’t entirely true. Their strong discipline will be necessary though and they should look to really come alive in the second half as their fitness starts to tell. It’s going to be an interesting game and it starts at 9pm this evening on Fox Soccer Channel. Let’s see if the US can avenge their last appearance in the final.

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