Mexico vs. USA: Burning Questions Ahead of Must-Watch World Cup Qualifier

Dan TalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 26, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 12:  Andres Guadardo #18 of Mexico celebrates his goal with Javier Hernandez #14 and Javier Rodrigues #2 against Guyana at BBVA Compass Stadium on October 12, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Mexico defeated Guyana 5-0. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The United States will take on Mexico in an epic World Cup qualifier later on Tuesday night that is sure to live up to the hype and billing around it.

Both fierce rivals, the UMSNT and El Tri will no doubt showcase another great installment of that rivalry when they meet here. They have everything to play for—with World Cup dreams on the line—and will surely bring that determination and passion to the fore in this fixture.

Yet several big, burning questions still remain heading into this one, with their answers likely to have a dramatic impact on the final result.

Read on to see what those burning questions are ahead of this key qualifier.


How Big Will Home Ground Advantage Be?

It's been arguably the biggest talking point all week, but the reality is that playing at the Azteca Stadium has an incredibly big advantage for Mexico.

The stadium seats over 100,000 people and will be sold out for this fixture—thus giving Mexico an incredible huge support base behind them. Yet perhaps what is most key here is the fact that the United States will have the 100,000 strong crowd against them—making for a very hostile and difficult environment to play quality football in.

The historical aspects of it aren't on the United States' side either, having beaten Mexico just once in Mexico in over 70 years of trying. And that game wasn't even a professional match—it was merely a friendly where both sides fielded nowhere near their strongest lineups.

Inasmuch, playing in Mexico simply isn't an easy thing to do, and the United States will definitely be hampered in their efforts to beat El Tri by that fact.

Just how big of an impact it will have still remains to be seen.


Can the U.S. Defense Cope Against Mexico's Speed?

Usually, this might not seem like the biggest point to worry about, but in the context of this week, you have to wonder about the USMNT's defense here.

Against Costa Rica, they were able to set relatively high and know that they weren't going to get beaten in behind—thanks, largely, to the mountains of snow that was falling around them and subsequently slowing down the pace of the game.

However, Mexico, and the Azteca, will be nothing like that, and the United States cannot afford to defend here like they did last weekend.

The ground will likely be rock hard and the pace of the game will be abundantly faster than last weekend. If the United States aren't prepared for that—even for the first few minutes—they could find themselves in serious trouble thanks to the pace present in Mexico's attack.

Javier Hernandez is a great goal-poacher, who doesn't need invitations to score goals. He'll be lurking again in this one and waiting to get in behind the USMNT—something that they cannot allow to happen here if they want to walk away with anything other than defeat.


Will the Moment Stun the UMSNT?

It seems almost strange to suggest this, but coming into this fixture, there's a real sense of expectancy and hope for what the USMNT can achieve.

Of course there's the reality of a hapless away record in Mexico and the fact that they have historically struggled to win there. But despite that, with last week's win in terrible conditions under their belts, you get the sense that the United States will carry great self-belief into this one here, and that they could well challenge their opponents as a result.

So will the USMNT rise to the occasion or will they be stunned by the moment?

That could well be the defining question in this one, with the onus not just on Mexico's performance—the United States can either win or lose this match as well.

It will no doubt be played at a frantic pace and will definitely produce a myriad of chances, but the game itself is nowhere near won or lost just yet. The United States still have a huge opportunity to create history, and prove that they are a real contender come Brazil and 2014.


What are your predictions for Mexico vs. USA?

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