Another good read
Mexico, meanwhile, is the complete opposite.
“Mexico’s squad right now, and in regards to their key personnel, are in the prime of their career,” says Tom Marshall, ESPN’s expert on Mexican soccer. “Whereas I think the U.S. is going through a generational change after Donovan, Beasley, Dempsey (who is looking towards the end of his tenure) are either gone or on their way out.”
Timing and transition
There is no doubt that Christian Pulisic is the face of the U.S. men's national team, and the hype is most definitely real. In addition, the U.S. should also feel optimistic about Darlington Nagbe, Kellyn Acosta, Jordan Morris and consistent members such as 23-year-old DeAndre Yedlin (yeah, he’s still only 23!) and what they will be able to offer for years to come. Jozy Altidore, at 27, is a seasoned veteran who has found his form in the early going of the Toronto FC season. But this team is not the finished product it could be come next summer just yet.
The Azteca advantage
It’s as obvious as it is true. The Azteca is a fortress and it’s more than just the intimidating, powerful Mexican crowd. At an elevation of 7,200 feet, this is by far the biggest obstacle for any team. In order to acclimate, it’s always recommended to arrive as early as possible, but the U.S. squad didn’t get there until Friday. The Americans have been preparing for high altitude during their matches and pre-qualifier training camp in Colorado and Utah, albeit at locations still at a significantly lower altitude than Mexico City.
For Mexico and Osorio, however, this is more than just a CONCACAF Clasico and a matchup against a fierce rival. This is about turning the page to a new chapter, making a statement and showcasing to the world that this time around, El Tri mean business and will forge its way to the World Cup on its own terms.