Matt Besler - U.S. MNT vs. Mexico - Nov. 11, 2016

U.S. Men's National Team at Mexico
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying – CONCACAF Hexagonal
Sunday, June 11 | 7:30 p.m. CT | FS1, Univision, UDN
Estadio Azteca | Mexico City, Mexico


With Thursday’s valuable 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the rearview mirror, the U.S. Men’s National Team will turn its attention to the gargantuan task of facing archrival Mexico at the vaunted Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The all-important World Cup qualifier between two of CONCACAF’s heavyweights will kick off Sunday at 7:30 p.m. CT on FS1, Univision and UDN.


Christian Pulisic’s brace on Thursday helped the U.S. MNT leapfrog Panama into third place in the Hexagonal, six points behind leaders Mexico. Sporting Kansas City defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi watched from the sidelines and will be available for selection Sunday in one of the most hostile soccer environments on the planet.



Indeed, Mexico boasts an eye-popping 40-2-7 record in World Cup qualifiers played at Estadio Azteca. The U.S. are 1-9-2 all-time at the venue, but have come away with results in each of their past two visits: a 1-0 friendly win in 2012 and a 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw a year later that saw Besler play 90 minutes in central defense.


Nevertheless, any heir of desperation lingering in the U.S. MNT camp was wiped away with a three-point performance against Trinidad and Tobago. Bruce Arena has guided the side to two wins and a draw in qualifying since taking the helm in late November, though obtaining a result on Sunday may be his toughest task during his second stint as U.S. head coach.


Mexico continued their cruise to a World Cup berth with a 3-0 home win over Honduras on Thursday, receiving goals from Oswaldo Alanis, Hirving Lozano and Raul Jimenez. El Tri sit atop the Hex with 13 points through five games, and a win this weekend would all but secure a top-three spot and a World Cup spot that comes with it.


With five Hexagonal matches still to play between now and October, the U.S. is one of three teams — alongside Mexico and second-place Costa Rica — currently occupying automatic qualification spots for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The fourth-place finisher will face an Asian team in a two-legged World Cup playoff in November.


Hexagonal Standings

Team
PTS
W
L
D
GF
GA
GD
Mexico
13
4
0
1
8
1
+7
Costa Rica
8
2
1
2
7
3
+4
United States
7
2
2
1
10
7
+3
Panama
6
1
1
3
2
2
  0
Honduras
4
1
3
1
4
12
-8
Trinidad and Tobago
3
1
4
0
2
8
-6

U.S. MNT Roster:


GOALKEEPERS (4): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 13/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)


DEFENDERS (10): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)


MIDFIELDERS (8): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana/MEX), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach/GER), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER)


FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC/CAN), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER)


Mexico Roster:


Goalkeepers (3): Jose Corona (Cruz Azul/MEX), Guillermo Ochoa (Malaga/ESP), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca/MEX)


Defenders (6): Oswaldo Alanis (Chivas/MEX), Nestor Araujo (Santos Laguna/MEX), Hector Moreno (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Rafael Marquez (Atlas/MEX), Luis Reyes (Atlas/MEX), Diego Reyes (Espanyol/ESP), Carlos Salcedo (Fiorentina/ITA)


Midfielders (8): Jonathan dos Santos (Villarreal/ESP), Jesus Duenas (Tigres/MEX), Andres Guardado (PSV Eindhoven/NED), Jorge Hernandez (Pachuca/MEX), Hector Herrera (Porto/POR), Miguel Layun (Porto/POR), Jesus Molina (Monterrey/MEX), Orbelin Pineda (Chivas/MEX)


Forwards (11): Javier Aquino (Tigres/MEX), Jesus "Tecatito" Corona (Porto/POR), Jurgen Damm (Tigres/MEX), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Marco Fabian (Frankfurt/GER), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas/MEX), Javier Hernandez (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Raul Jimenez (Benfica/POR), Hirving Lozano (Pachuca/MEX), Oribe Peralta (Club America/MEX), Carlos Vela (Real Sociedad/ESP)