The US Men’s National Team kicks off their last World Cup qualifying window with arguably the toughest match of the whole final round, as they travel to take on Mexico at Estadio Azteca on Thursday. The match is set to kick off at 10:00 p.m. ET at El Tri’s home stadium as the USMNT will look for their first-ever WCQ win at Azteca.
USA sits in second place in the qualifying table with 21 points. They’re four points behind first place Canada, and tied with Mexico on points alone but ahead on the goal differential tiebreaker (+9 to +6). If there was ever a time to secure three points on Mexico’s home soil, it’s now.
The USMNT will be looking for at least four or five points from their final three outings to lock up a World Cup spot in Qatar this November. After Mexico, they’ll host fourth-place Panama in Orlando, followed by a trip to Costa Rica on Wednesday to wrap up the final round of qualifiers. They could clinch a spot with a win over Mexico as long as it’s combined with Costa Rica and Panama losses. Any other result on Thursday will require positive results in at least one of the final two matches for the USMNT.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Mexico is favored to win at home with moneyline odds set at -110. USA comes in at +310 while a draw is priced at +235. The odds aren’t too surprising given USA’s tumultuous soccer history in Mexico, but they’ll be looking to turn that around after defeating El Tri in their last three straight competitive matches.
USA vs. Mexico betting splits
USA (+310): 46% handle, 38% bets
Draw (+235): 11% handle, 14% bets
Mexico (-110): 43% handle, 48% bets
Is the betting public right or wrong?
The public seems to be putting a lot of their trust in the USMNT for this contest, as more of the handle is going to the Americans grinding out a win. Mexico will be looking for revenge on the USA after those three defeats last year, and they’ll be doing it from inside a veritable fortress at the Azteca. The Mexicans have only lost two World Cup qualifiers in that stadium since its opening in 1966, and they’ll be doing everything in their power to keep it that way when the USMNT visits.
On paper, Mexico has the advantage. It doesn’t help that the USA will be without stars Weston McKennie (foot), Sergino Dest (hamstring), and Brenden Aaronson (knee), so Gregg Berhalter will need to fill those holes left in the lineup. Losing a guy like McKennie will hamper the USA’s attack, and it’s possible that Berhalter may want to park the bus and try to grind out a scoreless draw and salvage a point in a hostile environment.
Regardless, it’ll be an intense rivalry battle, but signs are pointing to Mexico getting the win at home on Thursday.
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