It seems like just yesterday that Charlie Davies scored at the Estadio Azteca to put the United States up 1-0 against Mexico.
Nope, that was 3 years ago. Mexico would come back with a long distance strike and fluky second half goal to win the World Cup qualifier 2-1.
Tonight, the United States travels to Mexico City again for a friendly, the first for these two teams on Mexican soil since 1984. So it was time to clean up my world football / soccer rankings. Previously, we discussed how a direct comparison of the two teams was difficult because the United States sent a reserve squad to the 2009 Gold Cup. Now, we’ve eliminated all games with the United States from that competition. And while we were at it, we eliminated all games with Mexico and Costa Rica from the 2011 Copa America, the South American competition in which these teams sent their under 23 team.
So what changed? Mexico actually rose from 12th to 11th in our rankings. Those games from South America clearly held them back. The United States rose from 21st to 17th, which I believe is about right for this team. US fans should be thrilled if new coach Jurgen Klinnsman pushes this team closer to the top 10 by the start of the next World Cup. Check out the full rankings here.
With our crude model for game outcomes, we give the United States a 25% chance to win tonight at Azteca. Home advantage is huge in soccer, and the team shouldn’t expect too many Americans among the 100,000 plus fans. Mexico has a 54% chance to win, while there is a 21% chance for a tie.
Of course, these predictions don’t account for the absence of Clint Demsey for the United States and Giovanni Dos Santos for Mexico.