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The buzz is palpable, even if you question how much the game really means. That's because there's always excitement when the United States Men's National Team clashes with its Mexican counterpart, and this time there will be something on the line — contrived or not — as the two countries play for a spot in the Confederations Cup in 2017.
Why has it come to this? The United States won the 2013 Gold Cup, and Mexico won the 2015 version. Now the two must play to determine the region's top dog for this cycle.
The game — the first of the sort — has been dubbed the CONCACAF Cup, and there are questions swirling around both sides as gameday arrives. How much pressure is on Jurgen Klinsmann to get it right? (The answer is probably not enough to affect his job status). Can the Yanks put terrible Gold Cup form behind them? Can the Mexicans do the same, even if they did overcome weak performances and controversy to somehow win the tournament? How will instability affect El Tri, with Juan Carlos Osorio now at the helm?
And those are just some of the major storylines, not to mention the every-game question of what in the world Klinsmann will do with his formation and lineup, as we can always count on him to to do something out of left field.
News came on Friday that midfielder Alejandro Bedoya will not be available for the game after falling under the weather at midweek and not recovering in time. Bedoya has featured regularly under Klinsmann. Union Berlin striker Bobby Wood — who gained notoriety for his performance during European friendlies earlier this summer — has been brought onto the roster to replace Bedoya. Wood had already been with the USMNT in Los Angeles prior to the roster announcement.
Aron Johansson had already been ruled out due to injury (he'll miss a few weeks with German club Werder Bremen), as had been center back John Brooks.
For Mexico, midfielder Andres Guardado has been injured but is expected to start, while the health of the adversarial Rafa Marquez could have a major effect on whether the Mexicans go with the 5-3-2 or a four-man back line.
Striker Giovanni Dos Santos has been ruled out for El Tri, as has midfielder Jose Juan "Gallito" Vasquez
There's no doubt this game carries some extra weight, but how much depends on how much you value the Confederations Cup — an opportunity to play some of the world's best nations in Russia in prelude tournament to the World Cup. Could participation give the U.S. a boost in the World Cup a year later?
Some pregame reading:
How to Watch
Date/Time: Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. 9:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Rose Bowl (Pasadena, California)
Watch: Fox Sports 1 (English); Univision/UDN (Spanish)
Stream: Fox Soccer 2 Go