In a rematch of an earlier World Cup qualifying game, the Mexican national football team will lay their unblemished 4-0 record on the line against winless Guyana on Friday night.
On June 8, when the two met at Estadio Azteca—the Mexican national team's home venue—the Golden Jaguars suffered a disheartening 3-1 defeat in which their only goal came from a kick that deflected off a defender before finding its way into the net.
Both teams are located in Group B of the CONCACAF region, which also includes Costa Rica and El Salvador. We are now in the third round of qualifying, and the top two teams from each of the region's three remaining groups will advance to the fourth and final qualifying round.
As it stands, Mexico has a tight grip on the top spot of Group B, with 12 points. El Salvador is a distant second with five points, followed by Costa Rica at four points and Guyana with just one point.
Given their place in the standings, Guyana will have to win out in addition to getting a little help if they plan to stave off elimination. Mexico, however, has already clinched one of the six final spots in the final qualifier.
Where: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
When: Friday, October 12, 9 p.m. EST
TV/Live Steam: Telemundo (In Spanish)
Mexico: The Quest For Perfection
The Mexican national team has little to prove in this match, but they've brought their biggest stars stateside anyway to ensure that their perfect record remains intact.
Javier "El Chicharito" Hernández, who additionally plays as a forward for English Premier League club Manchester United, headlines the list of overwhelming talent that coach José Manuel de la Torre has assembled to bring with him to Houston.
Hernández is a crafty striker with excellent speed who will pressure the defense of Guyana with regularity. The talented Andrés Guardado will bolster El Tri at midfield, among others.
The bad news for Mexico, however, is that some well-known players will not be making the trip to Texas.
Midfielders Marco Fabian and Gio dos Santos were not called up due to injuries, and Monterrey (Liga MX) defender Hiram Mier was scratched from the roster after suffering an injury against Pumas on Sunday (h/t Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle).
Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was called up, but will not be making the trip due to personal reasons.
Even so, Mexico has plenty of firepower and the fact that they've already secured a spot in the final round is unlikely to affect their focus.
Guyana: Can The Golden Jaguars Pull It Off?
Unfortunately, it's do-or-die for the Guyana national team if hopes of qualifying for their first ever Word Cup are to stay alive.
Even then, it may not be enough.
Guyana will have to defeat Mexico on Friday, shut down Costa Rica on Tuesday and hope El Salvador does not get a win in either of their two final matches, just to have a chance to advance to the final round.
Unlikely? Of course. But the games are played for a reason, and you can expect Jamaal Shabazz's club to bring their A-game in an attempt to upset the somewhat shorthanded Mexican national team.
Despite making the trip without several big names, Mexico will successfully fend off a furious rally from Guyana to move to 5-0 and remain undefeated in the third round of World Cup Qualifying.
Mexico 2 - Guyana 1
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