United States and Mexico. Estadio Azteca. Level on points in the CONCACAF World Cup qualification table. Ticket to Qatar still up for grabs. Only two games to go after tonight.
The ingredients were all there for Thursday to be a memorable match in a rivalry that has offered up more than a few classics over the years.
What resulted was far from a classic, but still just as valuable as the teams played to a 0-0 draw. While the United States will rue a pair of big missed chances from Christian Pulisic and Jordan Pefok, the result feels like a point gained rather than two points lost.
MORE: How can the USA qualify for the World Cup?
The draw also means the United States has gone four matches unbeaten against Mexico for the first time in history, another step in bringing the two sides closer still.
Now all eyes turn to Orlando, where a win over Panama could put the United States in pole position to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. Victory for the USMNT at home would all but secure a World Cup place, with Costa Rica at best needing to make up an eight-goal differential.
The United States still very much controls its own World Cup destiny, and that was clearly the goal.
Sporting News will be following the match live and providing score updates, commentary and highlights as they happen.
Mexico vs. USMNT live score
(All times Eastern)
FULL-TIME: Mexico 0-0 USA
The winless streak continues for the United States on Mexican soil, but Gregg Berhalter won’t care one bit. A very valuable point gained in a scoreless draw.
If anything, the United States deserved to finish ahead, as both Pulisic and Pefok will rue their misses. All told, the U.S. won the xG battle 1.26-0.40, despite just 37% possession. Still, the single point is valuable for both sides, and now all eyes turn to Orlando.
90th+3 min: Mexico the team to push down the stretch, U.S. hanging on for dear life. Nothing really created by the hosts just yet with this final spell of pressure, with just ticks on the clock remaining.
90th min: Oh wow, Ernesto Vega goes down in the box under a challenge by Jordan Morris, and the referee gives Vega a yellow card for simulation. Replay shows some hand fighting, and Vega sticks rear end out into Morris to initiate contact before going down. It’s most certainly not a penalty, but a simulation yellow card seems a bit harsh, especially since Vega is now suspended for the next match.
Five minutes of stoppage time added on.
88th min: Chucky Lozano looks tired, but he’s also had more of an influence over the last 15 minutes. He delivers a ball into the box, but it doesn’t latch onto a teammate as the new U.S. five-man back line covers, just.
Elsewhere, 10-man Canada nearly finds an equalizer against Costa Rica. Both U.S. and Mexico would like to see that game end level.
84th min: More subs, Christian Pulisic comes off for Jordan Morris, who has shown electricity since returning from an injury. The Berhalter changes have not gone down well on social media.
79th min: CHANCE, Mexico! Chucky Lozano with a brilliant chance! He has a window from a tight angle down the right, but skies the chance. A big miss for the Mexicans, they could have gone one up.
A goal kick was given, but the replay shows Steffan got a tip to the ball for a save.
Finally, substitutions for Mexico, as Corona comes off, replaced by Ernesto Vega. Carlos Rodriguez is also off for Erick Gutierrez. Defenders on for the USMNT, as Aaron Long returns from an Achilles tear to replace Tyler Adams, and Erik Palmer-Brown comes on for DeAndre Yedlin. Feels like a tactical change for the U.S.
78th min: My god, Gio Reyna lights up the Azteca with a dizzying run around at least four Mexican challengers, but finally runs into one too many black shirts.
72nd min: CHANCE, USA! Oh no!! Another disastrous miss! Brilliant ball from deep by Acosta which picks out Gio Reyna, and he perfectly one-times a cushioned touch to Pefok on the doorstep, but it’s another glaring miss.
The United States should be 2-0 up. It’s moments like this that have left the Stars & Stripes winless on Mexican soil, they can’t seem to get the monkey off the back.
Also, how has Mexico not brought on a single substitute yet? Tata Martino asleep?
70th min: Goooooodness gracious, Walker Zimmerman playing with fire. He challenges Jimenez in the box, and while Zimmerman appears to get a slight touch on the tackle, he has his hands all over the Mexican striker. Jimenez wants a penalty, not given. No action from VAR.
Musah had the giveaway to spring the move, wouldn’t be surprised to see him come off soon.
67th min: Yunus Musah goes into a challenge with Chucky Lozano and he needs some medical attention. The U.S. is already severely depleted, this would be a tough loss. Looks like an ankle issue for Musah, replay doesn’t show much. Stretcher is out and he nearly gets on it before getting up at the last minute. Luca de la Torre’s an option off the bench if needed.
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66th min: A very dangerous cross by Mexico from the right flank nearly catches DeAndre Yedlin with two men to guard, but he somehow gets his head to the ball and Zimmerman clears. Dangerous moment for the U.S. in a moment where there was some confusion at the back.
60th min: The first two subs come via Gregg Berhalter. Gio Reyna makes his long-awaited return, replacing Tim Weah, while Jordan Pefok — who’s on fire at the club level — replaces Ricardo Pepi. I’m surprised by the Reyna replacement given Weah is suspended for the next match, figured Berhalter would let him ride and save Reyna for Sunday. Not so. Paul Arriola is an option there too, for either later tonight or Sunday.
58th min: Edson Alvarez, on a yellow, hacks down Musah, who does his best to milk it and get Alvarez sent off, but it’s just a talking too from the referee.
Acosta’s free-kick from dead on vertically is a good one, but Walker Zimmerman can’t quite reach it. The ensuing corner produces a promising counter from Mexico 4-on-3, but El Tri just doesn’t have the final product.
57th min: CHANCE, Mexico! Chucky Lozano has been somewhat invisible this match, but he cuts in on his right and takes a good swing, just missing the top-right corner.
49th min: CHANCE, USA! Pulisic is denied by Ochoa again! This one’s a much more difficult chance than the point-blank miss from the first-half, as the shot came in from a very tight angle down the left. Memo had it covered the whole way, but dangerous moments for the U.S. attack.
48th min: Musah brings down an opponent, and the ensuing free-kick is dangerous but does not find a Mexican teammate.
46th min: We’re back undr way for the second half. No changes for either team, unsurprisingly. There weren’t any glaring holes for either team in the first 45 minutes.
11:03 p.m.: Panama 1-1 Honduras is final, a huge result for both the U.S. and Mexico. It’s also a devastating result for Panama, as Los Canaleros are now vulnerable to Costa Rica who is staring at an upset win over Canada. Lots going on around CONCACAF tonight!
10:53 p.m.: While the U.S. and Mexico are at halftime, Costa Rica has gone 1-0 up on 10-man Canada, and then it all kicks off.
HALFTIME: Mexico 0-0 United States
It’s the fourth straight match between these two teams that has gone to halftime scoreless. This game feels like it has plenty more to offer.
As it stands, the U.S. will be the happier side. Not only is a point totally acceptable for the U.S. on the road at the Azteca, but the visitors had the better chances as well. Still, the miss from Pulisic is a potentially catastrophic mistake, with goals so valuable between these two heated rivals.
44th min: Raul Jimenez goes for the spectacular, but his bike attempt comes up empty. Ensuing entry ball from the left flank is headed away by the U.S. defense. Aside from the one chance that Corona wasted, Mexico hasn’t generated a ton of offense.
As we continue to score watch, Canada has gone a man down against Costa Rica as Mark-Anthony Kaye is sent off before halftime for a second yellow card. That’s not good for either the U.S. or Mexico, who need both Panama and Costa Rica to drop points.
39th min: Tim Weah gets a yellow card on the touchline in front of the Mexico bench, another costly booking as now he is out for the Panama match. Weah is incensed with the call, understandably as he was going for a 50/50 throw-in. He points to his head telling the referee to use his head, but it will do no good, and Weah becomes the second player suspended for the all-important Panama match.
Tata Martino gets a yellow as well in the aftermath as the two teams come together in what could be a boiling point.
35th min: CHANCE, USA! HOW did Pulisic not score?!? It’s a DEVASTATING miss for the U.S., as Pulisic — free in front of net — is fed in by Weah down the right, but his tap is right at Ochoa who parries at point-blank range. Pulisic HAS TO score there, he just has to. That’s a critical moment that sees Pulislic comes up empty. The U.S. will rue that mistake.
33rd min: Ricardo Pepi wins a foul down the right flank, which catches the commentators off guard who thought Pepi was offside. Cesar Montes with the foul. His center-back partner Johan Vasquez is down needing some stretching to avoid cramps. The free-kick is sent into a good area but nobody’s there to meet it except a Mexican defender who heads it away.
27th min: CHANCE, Mexico! Oh the United States is SO LUCKY. A fantastic through-ball to Tecatito Corona springs the Mexican winger with acres of space to work a shot, but a very heavy first touch kills the chance. Zack Steffan collects and then has *words* with Tyler Adams.
We’re guilty of score watching, and Honduras is level with Panama! That’s huge for both the United States and Mexico, who need both Panama and Costa Rica to drop as many points as possible to make qualification that much easier.
25th min: Mexico has a chance to break as El Tri bursts down the right through a press from Robinson, but the eventual effort is nothing dangerous and Steffan collects. Mexico is dealing with the U.S. pressure better.
DeAndre Yedlin then picks up a yellow on a really silly and reckless tackle, which is a devastating turn of events for the U.S. as he will miss the Panama game. Without Reggie Cannon and Sergino Dest, Shaq Moore — on his way from Spain as we speak — will now suddenly be the first-choice right-back for the Panama match.
23rd min: Weah wins another free-kick down the right flank. Free-kick has good pace but isn’t deep enough and can’t beat the first man. U.S. has been wasteful on set-pieces so far.
20th min: Not much since the pair of chances. Christian Pulisic, who hasn’t been heavily involved so far, is yanked back by Edson Alvarez. It’s a yellow card for Alvarez, who is now suspended for the next match due to accumulation. Card might as well have been a flag for a 15-yard horse collar tackle penalty.
Acosta takes the set piece again, and this time he gets it on target, but it’s right into the arms of Ochoa, no troubles for the Mexico goalkeeper.
14th min: CHANCE, USA! NOW this game opens up! Yunus Musah with a HUGE chance on a fantastic cutback by Jedi Robinson from the left flank, and he goes for a low effort to the near post, which Ochoa gets his fingertips to on an acrobatic save, parrying the shot over the end line. It’s not the best effort from Musah given the space he had, the opportunity to roof it was there. The ensuing corner comes to nothing.
13th min: CHANCE, Mexico! The first real opportunity falls to the hosts as an excellent fizzed cross finds the head of Cesar Montes, but the bullet header is right into the grasp of Zack Steffen.
9th min: Miles Robinson gets an early yellow card. Less than ideal for the United States in this one. Thankfully Robinson is not one of the many U.S. players on a yellow.
The free-kick is a good one but doesn’t connect with a Mexico attacker. Out for a U.S. throw as nobody got a touch.
7th min: An incredibly sloppy start to this match. The midfield is a congested mess. This game has the feel of a heavyweight boxing bout, with both teams jabbing and hugging early. No haymakers yet.
3rd min: Kellyn Acosta is felled in the attacking third, and the U.S. has a somewhat dangerous free-kick, but Acosta blazes the ball well out, over the end line. It’s wasteful from the veteran midfielder.
2nd min: Goodness gracious, the U.S. nearly snatched a first minute chance, as Antonee “Jedi” Robinson sent a dangerous cross into the box, but Guillermo Ochoa was there to snag it.
1st min: KICKOFF! All the buildup, all the posturing, this huge, enormous rivalry game is UNDER WAY!
Thanks to World Cup expansion for 2026 and beyond, this could be possibly the last World Cup qualifier between these two teams with any real stakes. Enjoy it!
9:52 p.m.: Kickoff is nearing. The stadium appears very very empty on television as the players walk out. Others are noticing as well.
It would appear that the recent security measures put in place following the Liga MX violence is backlogging the entryways and also keeping fans away. This could be a real boon for the U.S. if the atmosphere is less than the usual hostile nature at Estadio Azteca.
9:36 p.m.: Gregg Berhalter does his prematch interview, and it’s a whole lotta coach speak. Words aren’t terribly valuable at this point, time to put up or shut up.
9:31 p.m.: We’re at a late enough stage of the cycle where you’d be forgiven for score watching, and Panama takes a 1-0 lead over Honduras in the 25th minute. That’s a bummer for both Mexico and USMNT fans, who both need Panama to fall off the table. It’s not terribly unexpected either, as Honduras is last in the Octagonal table and has looked well off the pace the whole cycle.
9:22 p.m: Yep, Reggie Cannon has COVID-19, confirmed by U.S. Soccer. USMNT down to its third-choice right-back. For a third-choice RB, DeAndre Yedlin isn’t a bad option.
According to reports, Shaq Moore is on his way from Spain to the U.S., which would indicate Cannon will be taken off the roster and a replacement brought in. A shame for Cannon, who had a real chance to make a statement with Dest out.
9:15 p.m.: For Mexico, 23-year-old Johan Vasquez is the choice at center-back over veteran Hector Moreno. That’s the only surprise, as Carlos Rodriguez maintains his position in midfield despite recent criticism.
Full lineups below.
8:58 p.m.: USMNT lineup is in. After all that talk about a “B” team, Gregg Berhalter goes with his best, healthiest, most potent lineup available. Tyler Adams is in despite being on a yellow card, Christian Pulisic is in, and Kellyn Acosta steps in for Weston McKennie. Only starting-caliber U.S. player on the bench is Gio Reyna, who Berhalter said would have his minutes managed.
The only real surprise is DeAndre Yedlin at right-back, when Reggie Cannon was expected to fill in for Sergino Dest. Cannon doesn’t appear even on the bench, and that generates questions about whether Cannon’s “inconclusive” COVID-19 test that held him out of training yesterday has come up positive.
8:44 p.m.: Gregg Berhalter has extensive experience at the Azteca…as a player.
Berhalter was in the starting lineup for a 2006 World Cup qualifier at this very venue that saw the United States fall 2-1 to Mexico, although the U.S. would eventually finish first in the CONCACAF Hexagonal standings.
He also came off the bench in a 2002 World Cup qualifier that the United States lost 1-0 at the Azteca, and he participated in the 1999 Confederations Cup semifinal at the venue in which the U.S. fell 1-0 in extra time.
8:16 p.m.: Estadio Azteca looks calm now, but it will be raucous soon enough. This atmosphere is always hostile for the United States.
8:00 p.m.: The USMNT has a look at the hallowed grounds of the Estadio Azteca, where the United States has never won a competitive match. In fact, the U.S. has never won a competitive game at any Mexican ground, and while three points are the most important thing for either side, a slice of history would be a nice bonus for the visitors.
MORE: How Mexico can qualify for the World Cup
Mexico vs. USMNT lineups
Mexico captain Andres Guardado is not on the roster after suffering a thigh injury in La Liga play. His 173 caps of experience will be a miss for Mexico, which is also without Rogelio Funes Mori and Julio Cesar ‘Cata’ Dominguez due to injury.
Finding a third midfielder to partner with Hector Herrera and Edson Alvarez was the biggest decision for Tata Martino, and he sticks with Carlos Rodriguez once again despite recent criticism. The forward line picks itself: Tecatito Corona has been a contributor for Sevilla since joining in January and claims the wing spot opposite Chucky Lozano. Raul Jimenez is the center forward.
The only surprise is 23-year-old Johan Vasquez who starts over veteran Hector Moreno at center-back.
Mexico projected starting lineup (4-3-3): Ochoa (GK) — Arteaga, Vasquez, Montes, J. Sanchez — Herrera, Alvarez, C. Rodriguez — Lozano, Jimenez, Tecatito.
Mexico subs: (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)
U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter will have to navigate four injuries to critical U.S. internationals. Weston McKennie suffered a broken foot on Champions League duty, while Sergino Dest (hamstring), Brenden Aaronson (knee), and goalkeeper Matt Turner (ankle) are all sidelined as well.
Zack Steffen takes over in goal, while the return of Gio Reyna will have to wait, as Tim Weah starts in Aaronson’s place. Gregg Berhalter prefers experience in two places, choosing Kellyn Acosta to fill in for McKennie over Luca de la Torre, while DeAndre Yedlin is the choice at right-back over Reggie Cannon (Dest’s projected replacement), who sat out training on Wednesday due to an inconclusive COVID-19 test and does not appear on the bench.
USA starting lineup (4-3-3): Steffen (GK) — A. Robinson, Zimmerman, M. Robinson, Yedlin — Musah, Adams, Acosta — Pulisic, Pepi, Weah.
USA subs (11): Horvath (GK), Palmer-Brown, Sands, Long, Bello, de la Torre, Roldan, Reyna, Morris, Arriola, Ferreira.
MORE: Could the USA field a “B” team against Mexico at the Azteca?
How to watch Mexico vs. USA
- Date: Thursday, March 24
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBSSN
- Spanish-language TV: Univision, TUDN
- Streaming: fuboTV, Paramount+
Thursday’s match between Mexico and the United States from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City will be broadcast on CBSSN (English) and Univision and TUDN (Spanish) in the USA.
All three channels are streamed on fuboTV and new users can take advantage of a free trial. The match is also streamed on Paramount+ for subscribers.
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Standings
Here is the standings picture with three matches remaining (each team plays 14 matches).
The top three teams receive automatic berths to Qatar, while fourth place advances to an intercontinental playoff match in June against the team that emerges from the Oceania region.
|5. Costa Rica||16||11||4||3||4||8||7||+1|
|6. El Salvador||9||11||2||6||3||6||13||-7|
Mexico-USA betting lines, picks & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings
The argument can definitely be made that the USA is a much more cohesive group than Mexico, even with the absences to injury. Berhalter has a much better idea of what his preferred starting lineup looks like, while Tata Martino’s mixing and matching has led to a lack of team identity with El Tri.
Both sides know a win all but locks up a World Cup spot — in fact, it could even officially lock one up if coupled with a collection of unlikely, but possible, results elsewhere — but a draw is also worth significant value to both.
MORE: Latest USMNT injury news
These two sides don’t draw very often, sharing the spoils just once in the last 10 meetings dating back to 2015. But three matches in that stretch also went to extra time after 90-minutes ended level in competitions that required a winner on the day.
It’s been a while since the U.S. has played at the Azteca — five years, actually — but the Americans have not been defeated on the road in Mexico since a World Cup qualifier in 2009, coming away with at least a tie in the last three matches there.
Pick: Draw & under 2.5 goals (+270)
Prediction: Mexico 1, USA 1
- Moneyline: Mexico -115 / Draw +230 / USA +300
- Spread: Mexico -0.5 (-120) / USA +0.5 (-115)
- O/U 2.5 total goals: Over +135 / Under -180
- Both teams to score: Yes +110 / No -145