Mexico and USA will face off at Soldier Field in Chicago on July 8th to contest the Final of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, in a clash that pits two of international football’s biggest rivals against each other.
USA and Mexico both carried pre-tournament favourite tags into the 15th edition of the competition, though one nation now looks set to fall short of expectations at the final hurdle.
With tension already starting to build ahead of what promises to be a keenly fought encounter, let’s take a closer look at some of the most important individual duels that could play a key role in deciding the outcome of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final in Illinois.
Read our comprehensive match preview for more Mexico vs USA predictions and betting tips here.
Raul Jimenez vs Tim Ream
Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Raul Jimenez has been in electric form for Mexico at the Gold Cup, rattling the net 5 times in total to help fire his team to the competition’s Final in Chicago.
As things stand, Jimenez is tied with Canada’s Jonathan David in the race to finish as the tournament’s leading marksman, though the Mexican needs just 1 goal against the USA to land the award.
On Monday, Jimenez is likely to be marked by a familiar face in United States centre-half Tim Ream. Jimenez and Ream came up against each other twice last season in Wolves’ Premier League fixtures against Fulham.
Jimenez failed to get on the scoresheet in both games against the Cottagers last term, though he will fancy his chances of registering against Ream’s USA at Soldier Field.
Andrés Guardado vs Weston McKennie
Even at 32, long-serving Mexican midfielder Andrés Guardado is still as influential as ever for his country.
The Real Betis schemer has been pulling the strings with intelligence and composure in Mexico’s engine room at the Gold Cup, and the former PSV star even chipped in with 2 vital goals against Canada in the Group Stage.
Talented young United States midfielder Weston McKennie will need to draw on all the top-level knowhow he gleaned last season with Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga to combat Guardado’s inventiveness on Monday.
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Carlos Antuna vs Reggie Cannon
LA Galaxy wide attacker Carlos Antuna has been dazzling spectators with his penetrative wing play for Mexico in the country’s run to the Gold Cup Final.
Antuna scored in Mexico’s wins against Cuba and Martinique earlier in the competition, and the 21-year old who is on loan at Los Angeles from Manchester City, will hope to make a similar impact against the USA.
FC Dallas employee Reggie Cannon, who is also just 21, will be the man tasked with limiting Antuna’s effectiveness. The fullback is a newcomer to the international scene, and has amassed 100% of his 5 senior caps at the 2019 Gold Cup.
Héctor Moreno vs Jozy Altidore
The vastly experienced, tough as old boots Mexican centre-half Héctor Moreno has been the bedrock of his team’s defence for over a decade now.
The 31-year old, who has collected 100 caps for his country, appeared in each of Mexico’s 2019 5 Gold Cup fixtures to date, and the Real Sociedad stopper will be relishing the prospect of going shoulder to shoulder with USA centre-forward Jozy Altidore in Chicago.
The much-maligned 29-year old has only hit the net once in the Gold Cup so far, despite playing in some emphatic USA victories, yet the former Sunderland man’s all-round contribution is still highly valued by Head Coach Gregg Berhalter.
Altidore was a key performer for the USA in their Semi Final win over Jamaica, and Berhalter will hope that the Toronto FC striker can provide the necessary spark again against Mexico.
Jesús Gallardo vs Christian Pulisic
Tough-tackling Monterrey left-back Jésus Gallardo is a key component of Mexico’s robust rearguard, and the 24-year old has featured in 100% of his country’s games at the Gold Cup in the United States.
Gallardo will need to be right on top of his game to successful track Christian Pulisic’s defence splitting runs and clever passing on Monday however.
The 20-year old wide midfielder, who will play with Chelsea in the Premier League next season, scored twice to help the USA to a 3-1 win over Jamaica in the Gold Cup Semi Finals, bringing his goal total to 3 for the tournament overall.
The USA will be looking to Pulisic to conjure up a special, game-changing moment or two again in Chicago, and Gallardo will need plenty of assistance from his teammates to stop that from happening.
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