We’re approaching the halfway point of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying competition and the standings have a familiar look with Mexico on top, followed by the USA in second. This week these two old rivals go head to head in Cincinnati in what promises to be a fascinating battle.
|USA v Mexico|
Who do Bettors Favor?
Bettors looking for the best soccer bet have been eagerly scouring the markets for this game ever since the odds went up and at the moment, they seem to be leaning heavily in favor of the visitors. Mexico is generally available at around +137 while the USMNT is the outsiders at +222 and the draw is at +201.
Which Team is in the Best Form?
The USMNT has been inconsistent in their six qualifying games so far. There have been solid wins, including 4-1 against Honduras and 2-0 over Jamaica, but they’ve also dropped points against Canada and El Salvador and suffered defeat in Panama. Last time out they made heavy weather of a home tie against Costa Rica, eventually prevailing 2-1 thanks to an own goal by the visitors.
Mexico’s qualifying campaign has been considerably smoother so far. They are unbeaten after six games and their only dropped points have come in draws against Canada and Panama. Their last two outings saw them hit top form with consecutive victories over Honduras and El Salvador in which they scored five goals without conceding.
What does the Head to Head Record Say?
As neighbors with long-established soccer traditions, it is not surprising that this game between USA and Mexico is one of the most played fixtures in the CONCACAF region.
Since their first meeting, in 1934, they have played one another on 71 occasions, with Mexico coming out on top with 36 wins in total, compared to 21 for the USA and 15 draws.
In recent years, however, the USA have leveled the account, winning three of their last five meetings. Crucially, they won both high-profile games played earlier this summer, prevailing on penalties in the final of the Nations League in June, and then in extra time in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in August.
Team News for USA World Cup Qualifier
For the USMNT, the fitness of Christian Pulisic will be an important factor in shaping how Berrhalter lines up his team here. If Pulisic is not fit or starts on the bench, Brenden Aaronson will start on the left, while in midfield, the trio of Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Tyler Adams, which has been one of the most exciting areas of development for the US, are the most likely starters, although Gianluca Busio is another option who can provide excellent set-piece delivery.
Although Tata Martino has flirted with a back three at times, he usually chooses to go with a 433 formation and we can expect that again here. Selection-wise I expect this team to be very similar to the one that played in the Gold Cup and Nations League finals, with Charlie Rodriguez getting the nod ahead of Sebastian Cordoba in the attacking midfield role, although Martino has a tough choice to make at left center-half between Hector Moreno and Johan Vasquez.
Which Team is the Best Bet?
Although they are the home team here, we can expect USMNT to be on the back foot, with Mexico given the lion’s share of possession. The visitors will aim to keep hold of the ball and stretch the play as much as possible, and on paper at least, they have the stronger line-up, with a number of experienced Europe-based players in the team, crucially in attacking positions.
But there are weaknesses for the USMNT to exploit. Mexico is vulnerable defensively in wide positions and the home side has the ability to punish them in those areas, particularly if Pulisic is available. Berhalter will also have taken note of how well Canada performed in their game in Mexico City. In that fixture, the Canadians matched Mexico in the midfield areas, and the dynamic US midfield trio of Musah, McKennie, and Adams is a class above anything Canada has to offer.
I am tempted to go with the draw here, given that neither side has to go for broke in this game, but at these odds, the US looks too big a price, given their strong recent record against these opponents and the potential weaknesses that they will be able to exploit.
Other Bets for USA World Cup Qualifier
Games involving these sides have produced an average of 2.17 goals so far in this qualifying campaign and given that their close recent encounters, I’m predicting another tight match. Having predicted a US win, I considered both the 1-0 and 2-1 options in the Correct Score market, but I think Mexico has enough upfront to find a goal here, so a 2-1 US win looks the best option.