Mexico vs. USA: Impact Players to Watch for in 2014 World Cup Qualifier

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2013

COMMERCE CITY, CO - MARCH 22:  Midfielder Clint Dempsey #8 of the United States runs during a FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Costa Rica and United States at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on March 22, 2013 in Commerce City, Colorado.  (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Two bitter North American rivals will clash on Tuesday night in Mexico City as the United States and Mexico go head to head with plenty at stake. 

With the 2014 World Cup just over 16 months away, both sides are looking to rack up as many points as possible in the CONCACAF table in order to ensure that they are one of the 32 teams headed to Brazil next June.

While Mexico has owned the United States south of the border, the Americans will be a confident bunch having earned their first win on Mexican soil in 75 years last summer.

With kickoff set for 10:30 p.m. ET, let's take a closer look at some impact players to keep an eye on in this pivotal qualifying clash. 


Clint Dempsey, United States

The 30-year-old forward has been a goal scoring machine for the Stars and Stripes over the past nine years, pouring in 32 goals since 2005. Dempsey has played for the United States in two World Cups and is closing in on his 100 appearance with the senior national team.

Dempsey has scored the last four goals in qualifying for the Americans dating back to last October's 3-1 win over Guatemala.

Although Dempsey's talent and drive are the two biggest reasons for his stellar performances on the international stage, he's seemingly always in the right place at the right time. 

Whether it's a set piece or counter attack, be sure to single out No. 8 for the United States as he'll no doubt have a hand in whatever success the Americans achieve against their rivals on Tuesday.


Javier Hernandez, Mexico

Better known as Chicharito, Mexico's Javier Hernandez is a lethal player with the ball in an attacking position. The Manchester United superstar has big-time experience going up against the world's best in the English Premier League and is always a threat to score.

The 24-year-old has been scoring at a blistering pace for El Tri, netting 30 goals in just 45 appearances. He is sixth all-time in Mexican national team history with 30 international goals to his name and will likely overtake Jared Borgetti (46) for first place before he hangs up his boots. 

Surprisingly, he was shutout at Azteca last August when the United States pulled out an unthinkable 1-0 friendly victory.

Watch for a determined Chicharito on Tuesday, as he's yet to score against the United States.


Herculez Gomez, United States

If Dempsey doesn't find the back of the net on Tuesday, perhaps it will be Herculez Gomez to the rescue for the United States. Gomez certainly has a knack for putting in goals, and the Americans will need him to be at his best behind enemy lines in Mexico City on Tuesday.

Like Dempsey, the Santos Laguna star is in his prime at age 30 and boasts the speed and finishing strength to break through for the Untied States on the road. 

Gomez scored in two qualifying matches in 2012, including one against Jamaica last September in a 1-0 win on American soil. He won't be hearing cheers from the crowd this time around, but I'm sure the boos would sound just as sweet if it means the United States return home with three points.

Gomez and the Americans would no doubt take a draw if they can get it, but a win would go a long towards qualifying for the World Cup next summer.


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