RICH FIDLER - Sunday, July 26, 2009
The United States and Mexico will battle each other for the second straight tiem in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship on Sunday afternoon at Giants Stadium in New Jersey.
American head coach Bob Bradley will have the same roster available as the one that took them to a two goal victory over Honduras on Thursday evening. Jimmy Conrad is expected to be a game-time decision following his concussion suffered in the quarter-final victory of Haiti.
It's expected that Clarence Goodson, who scored the opener on Thursday, will once again make the start for Conrad. Columbus' Chad Marshall will also anchor the back four in front of former DC United goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
They'll be flanked on either side of the defense by Jay Heaps and Heath Pearce, who will have to deal with young Mexican speedsters Gio Dos Santos, Alberto Medina and Carlos Vela.
The American midfield will show its' youth on the flanks with Stuart Holden and Robbie Rogers pushing out wide. The 23-year old Holden has been the revalation of the Gold Cup squad for the Red, White and Blue.
Kyle Beckerman and Logan Pause will be expected to one again fill the void in the middle of the field. Beckerman will no doubt draw the task of sticking with firey Mexican midfielder Gerardo Torrado who plays with a physical presence from the opening whistle.
Brian Ching, who has experienced the rivalry with the Mexican squad many times himself, will start up top and be expected to lead by veteran example on Sunday afternoon. Kansas City Wizard striker Davy Arnaud is expected to partner with Ching for the third game in a row.
Over the past 11 game between the two nations inside the United States, the Americans are undefeated with nine wins and two ties - the most recent a 2-0 victory thanks to two goals from Michael Bradley at Columbus Crew Stadium in early February.
The 2007 Gold Cup Final at Soldier Field in Chicago saw the American's score a 2-1 victory thanks to a second-half penalty kick from Landon Donovan and stunning strike from Benny Feilhaber that secured yet another American victory in the series.
Following the Gold Cup Final these two teams will take a few weeks worth of rest before meeting at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City for a crucial World Cup Qualifier on the afternoon of August 12th.