Mexico and the United States will go head-to-head for all the marbles in Group A of CONCACAF Olympic qualifying on Wednesday as the two favorites to win this tournament collide.
The under-23 squads of both nations boast 100-percent records thus far in the competition and are guaranteed to reach the semifinals, but the order of finish in Group A could count for a lot. The team that finishes on top will get a preferential matchup against the runner-up in Group B. The United States are targeting their first Olympic Games appearance since 2008, while 2012 gold medal winners Mexico hope to recapture the form that saw them crowned winners in London.
What TV Channel is Mexico-USA on?
One of North American soccer’s greatest rivalries resumes as Mexico and the United States chase Olympic dreams, airing via FS1 and TUDN from 9:30 p.m. ET. You can live stream international matches on fuboTV.
How to Watch Mexico vs. United States
When: Wednesday, March 24
Where: Estadio Jalisco, Guadalajara, Mexico
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1, TUDN
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
It’s not just home advantage that would paint El Tri as the favorites heading into this clash with their border rivals considering their squad comprises a wealth of talent with extensive experience in Liga MX. Captain Erick Aguirre—one of the team’s three permitted players over the age of 23—has made more than 150 appearances for Pachuca, while Roberto Alvarado, Uriel Antuna, Jose Juan Macias and Santiago Córdova are just some of the names with senior Mexico caps.
The latter among that quartet, Córdova, is the top scorer in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying with four goals—at least two more than any other player—having netted a hat-trick in their tournament-opening 4-1 win over the Dominican Republic. The América midfielder followed that up by capping off a classy move in their 3-0 win over Costa Rica, where the gulf in quality between the two nations was really evident:
The Stars and Stripes racked up four unanswered goals of their own against the Dominicans, except theirs was less confident and more tetchy following a goalless first hour. Minnesota United’s Hassani Dotson stole the show with two goals off the bench, while fellow substitute Djordje Mihailovic also contributed in the 90th minute:
Nothing but a win on Wednesday will serve the U.S. in their efforts to finish first in the pool, with Mexico’s superior goal difference meaning a draw would still be enough to top Group A. Honduras and Canada occupy first and second in Group B, respectively, but their finishing order is difficult to judge considering any team in their pool can still qualify.
A guaranteed semi-final puts the United States in a precarious spot given they could still meet Mexico down the line if they both make it to the final. Both finalists secure their place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics later this year, so it’s understandable U.S. coach Jason Kreis is already focusing on the next round, per Sam Stejskal:
All pride aside, that could mean the lineup named to face Mexico isn’t the strongest one at Kreis’ disposal, opting to instead save some of his resources for the semi-final to come. Victory over an archrival like Mexico would count for a lot in boosting confidence in the United States camp. That being said, Jaime Lozano’s incumbents will remain assured they’re capable of winning the group and, by extension, a third straight CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.