The US and Mexico renew their rivalry, this time at U23 level in a CONCACAF Olympic Qualifier that will determine where the two countries will end up in Group A and help determine each nation’s semi-final opponent. Both teams have a maximum of six points from two games and have a place in the last four games. The two semi-final winners will get a place at the Tokyo Games later this year.
The winner of group A between the USA and Mexico meets the runner-up in group B (Honduras, Canada, El Salvador or Haiti), while the runner-up meets the winner of group B. Breaker goal differentials and then goals scored.
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10:42 p.m. ET: Here are Jeff’s biggest takeaways from the first 45 minutes
1. It’s hard to see where the creativity will come from tonight, especially with Circle protecting people like Jesus Ferreira on yellow cards.
2. The United States improved defensively in the course of the half. Pineda in particular looks a lot sharper than in the group opening game against Costa Rica.
3. With all the talk about Johnny Cardoso who has attack skills, he has yet to show it on an international level.
10:31 PM ET: Further analysis of the late Mexico goal …
– Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 25, 2021
HALF-TIME: It is 1-0 in Mexico during the break, as Antuna’s goal in the 45th minute makes the difference.
45 minutes: GOAAALLL! Mexico hits first shortly before half-time through ex-Galaxy man Uriel Antuna.
– Mexican national team (@miseleccionmxEN) March 25, 2021
37 minutes: USA win a promising free kick and Djordje Mihailovic’s dangerous ball creates a mess in the box. Mexican goalkeeper Luis Malagon lands awkwardly on the wrist and appears to have sustained a serious injury. He is on a stretcher and Sebastian Jurado will replace him.
28 minutes: A big disappointment for the US! Mauricio Pineda engages in a brilliant, goal-saving duel to deny Alejandro Mayorga, which seemed clear after turning US right-back Julian Araujo on his head. Aruajo the most relieved man on the square. It remains 0-0.
23 minutes: Mexico is starting to gain momentum here as Ochoa makes a comfortable first parade before ex-LA Galaxy attacker Uriel Antuna blazes wide with a daisy cutter.
20 minutes: If the US qualified, what could a dream XI of eligible players be like? While we understand that many of these players will not be fired from their clubs, here is Jeff Carlisle XI’s dream:
GK David Ochoa; LB Antonee Robinson, CB Mark McKenzie, CB Chris Richards, RB Sergino Dest; Yunus Musah MF, Tyler Adams MF, Weston McKennie MF; FW Giovanni Reyna, FW Josh Sargent, FW Christian Pulisic
This is a team on paper that would turn out to be the main contender for a medal.
16 minutes: Mexico’s third corner of the night does not produce an end product as Vasquez is harmlessly far from Ochoa.
13 minutes: It will be Guadalajara physically as both teams overcame difficult challenges in the early stages. Amen, Janusz.
It’s USA versus Mexico so it’s always important. #USYNT
– Janusz Michallik (@JanuszMichallik) March 25, 2021
9 minutes: Another corner for Mexico that Roberto Alvarado takes. Goalkeeper David Ochoa wanted to misjudge the flight of Alvarado’s cross but hold on to avoid further danger.
7 minutes: After initially being pushed back by Mexico, the US has started to gain a foothold in this game. You first won a corner and now you won a free kick in the opposing half.
3 minutes: And Mexico wins the first corner of the game … which, after a partial clarification, leads to a distant long-distance drive from Johan Vásquez.
21:40 ET: AND WE ARE ON THE WAY FROM GUADALAJARA!
9:17 am ET: Are you ready for the US against Mexico? Midfielder Andres Perea definitely seems thrilled with his first glimpse of CONCACAF’s biggest rivalry …
🇺🇸👀🇲🇽 # tokyo2020
– Andrés Perea (@ andresperea06) March 24, 2021
21:02 ET: And El Tri’s Line-up is over … Club America’s Sebastian Cordova, who is the tournament’s top scorer with four goals, starts from the bench with a view to Sunday’s semi-finals.
These are the starting XI for today’s game 🆚🇺🇸 !!!
– Mexican national team (@miseleccionmxEN) March 25, 2021
8:56 pm ET: In case you missed it … could some of the USMNT’s top young stars play in Tokyo if the US qualifies? Christian Pulisic said he would enjoy the opportunity to represent the Stars and Stripes this summer.
“I thought about it and wanted to play,” Pulisic said on a Zoom call with reporters about attending the Olympics. “Of course I can’t control what’s going on. Of course, I can’t say what’s best for me at the time and what’s best for the team at the time. But it’s something I’d like to play in. “
20:37 ET: USYNT starting position XI is out and Jason Kreis has made six changes: Julian Araujo, Henry Kessler, Sebastian Saucedo, Andres Perea and Hassani Dotson were the only remnants of Sunday’s 4-0 win against the Dominican Republic.
Almost showtime ⌛️
– US soccer YNT (@USYNT) March 25, 2021
8:24 pm ET: You know the old saying ‘Look good, play good. Mexico will unveil its new Rosa Mexicano kits.
Time to use our brand new jersey !!! 😬😎
– Mexican national team (@miseleccionmxEN) March 24, 2021
8:00 p.m. ET: It’s game day because we’re now less than an hour and a half before kick-off between the USMNT-U23 and Mexico in the CONCACAF Olympic qualification! Remember to keep it locked here for the entire evening as we follow this crucial Group A decider. Both sides are trying to get one step closer to securing a seat at the Tokyo Games this summer.