Three Big Storylines:
- The United States Men’s National Team held serve at home on Thursday with a 2-0 home win over Trinidad and Tobago. Christian Pulisic was the Man of the Match with both goals and Clint Dempsey was upset after getting subbed out in the 61st minute. The USMNT sits in third place in The Hex with seven points, while Mexico leads the group with 13 points through five played after a 3-0 win at home against Honduras. While the USMNT does not NEED to get a result in Mexico, any points would be a huge bonus on the Road to Russia. Mexico is 40-2-7 all time in World Cup qualifiers in Azteca Stadium. In fact, only five USMNT players have ever scored in Azteca in qualifiers or friendlies. Will someone add their name to the goal scoring list after Willy Roy, Rick Davis, Eddie Lewis, Charlie Davies and Michael Orozco?
- This seems to be a moment. The moment when US Soccer’s Next Big Thing goes from being a Freddy Adu-sized punchline to actually a thing. Christian Pulisic is 18 years old and is playing regularly in the Bundesliga and Champions League for one of the best teams in the world — Borussia Dortmund. Pulisic has been great this year for the USMNT and there is no bigger stage in US Soccer to break into the general sporting consciousness than away at Azteca. Also being 18 has its advantages, no one really judges you too harshly when you essentially guarantee a victory in Azteca in the post match interview.
- Mexico is coming into the game on great form, but they are missing a group of key players. Rafa Márquez, Andrés Guardado, Miguel Layún and Carlos Salcedo are all ruled out of the game. If you are looking for a silver lining for the USMNT, injuries coupled with the fact that Mexico heads out to Russia immediately following the game for the FIFA Confederations Cup is the straw to grasp. Mexico opens their tournament a week from today with Portugal in a crucial Group A match held in Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia.
From a Sounders Point of View:
Clint Dempsey might be pissed off, but he is also only one goal behind Landon Donovan for the all time men’s scoring record for the USA. What better spot to break the record than Azteca? Depending on the game state, Jordan Morris could be a key attacking substitute if the USMNT need a late goal.
We would like all the Sounders to be returned healthy, thank you.
National TV Listings:
Mexico v USMNT
Date/Time: Sunday, 5:30 PM
Location: Azteca Stadium, Mexico City, Mexico
TV: Fox Sports 1, Univision & Univision Deportes
John Strong, Stu Holden and Landon Donovan on the call with Jenny Taft reporting from the sidelines. Rob Stone will host studio coverage from pitchside at Azteca with Alexi Lalas and Fernando Fiore.
This is your Sounder at Heart USMNT v Mexico World Cup Qualifying gamethread. Watch with us.