Anthony Hudson’s MLS-dominant squad will take the field on Wednesday night for a friendly against southern neighbors Mexico, in a largely forgettable midweek exhibition with few ramifications other than potential resume padding.
The inaugural Allstate Continental Clásico is set to take place in Glendale, Arizona, and will pit the two regional rivals against each other for the 75th time. Recent history has favored the Americans, who have not lost since another friendly meeting in 2019.
Most recently, the two teams battled to a scoreless draw in the fabled Azteca stadium in Mexico City during qualification for the 2022 World Cup, with the three prior meetings all ending in wins for the Stars and Stripes.
Wednesday’s game is overshadowed by the next meeting between these teams in mid-June in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Nations League. However, despite its meaningless in all but an eventual slight tweaking in the even less impactful FIFA rankings, it will give Hudson a chance to see the MLS contingent in action before the busy summer.
With no clarity on who will fill the roles of Sporting Director or Head Coach of the USMNT moving forward, the Seattle-born coach is in a bit of limbo in terms of whether he should push hard for the win to beef up his resume for the next stop, or to focus more on exploring potential options for the upcoming Nations League and Gold Cup…where he might simply be doing a favor for his successor.
The curent 22-man roster available for the game includes a number of players who made the trip to Qatar and in some cases, played significant roles in the team’s run to the Round of 16.
Defense is perhaps the strongest point, and somewhat over-represented with nine of the 22 roster spots, however gives Hudson the luxury of starting notable USMNT regulars Sergiño Dest, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long and DeAndre Yedlin, should he opt for experience.
Youngsters Caleb Wiley and Josh Wynder will both be looking for their senior debuts ahead of their likely participation in the upcoming U-20 World Cup, however one would expect 22-times capped Matt Miazga to keep one of those two center backs on the bench.
Following the withdrawal of Cristian Roldan and Paul Arriola from the lineup, the midfield and attacking options are somewhat limited, however still enough to get the job done against the Liga MX-level defense they will face.
Kellyn Acosta will be the veteran presence of the likely three-man midfield, with 24 year-old Alan Soñora one to watch as he tries to build upon his pair of caps since opting for the US in early-2023.
Up front, Jesús Ferreira and Jordan Morris will compete for the central striker role; while Morris has been a force this season since a move to the middle for his club team Seattle, the position at the national level is still Ferreria’s to lose, likely seeing a move of the Sounders attacker to the wing.
Cade Cowell is another U-20 eligible player to watch; although he has been just capped twice on the senior level, he is a likely candidate to become a regular following what will be a likely starring role on the youth squad heading to Argentina in a few short weeks.
The new Mexican head coach Diego Cocca heads into his first rivalry game against the US with an inexperienced squad almost exclusively based in the country’s domestic league. The only two exceptions are the pair of American-born players – Julián Araujo and Efraín Álvarez, both of whom eventually opted for El Tri after seeing their chances with the USMNT likely looking tenuous.
Since taking over at the helm, Cocca has had somewhat of a rocky start, only beating Suriname by a narrow 2-0 margin, then settling for a 2-2 draw at home against Jamaica in the recent Nations League group games.
The game will kick off shortly past 10pm Eastern Time in Glendale’s State Farm Stadium, where the two prior meetings of these teams, both friendlies, have ended in a win and a draw for the US.