CONCACAF NATIONS LEAGUE
Players to watch in USMNT vs Mexico, CONCACAF Nations League
Regional rivals the United States and Mexico meet in Las Vegas on Thursday, in the semi-finals of the 2022/23 CONCACAF Nations League.
The CONCACAF Clásico takes place once more on Thursday, with the United States facing off against Mexico in Las Vegas. While the Stars and Stripes met El Tri in a friendly just a matter of weeks ago - a 1-1 draw in Glendale, Arizona - this time there is silverware at stake. The regional rivals meet in the CONCACAF Nations League semi-finals, with either Panama or Canada awaiting in Sunday’s final.
Ahead of the last-four clash at Allegiant Stadium, we take a look at some of the players that you really ought to keep an eye on.
Having recently made the move to European soccer, Mexico’s Julián Araujo is a player who will be in the spotlight in Nevada. Signed by Barcelona in February, the right-back has initially gone into the LaLiga giants’ ‘B’-team squad, but first-team head coach Xavi Hernández is likely to run the rule over him during the pre-season period. Xavi has spoken highly of Araujo, and the former Los Angles Galaxy man will be eager to impress his club boss in the Nations League.
New Mexico head coach Diego Cocca, who succeeded Gerardo Martino in February, knows Ozziel Herrera well. Herrera played under Cocca at Atlas during the Liga MX club’s back-to-back title triumphs. The 22-year-old winger barely featured during Martino’s Mexico tenure, but now has the opportunity to stake his claim for a regular spot in the national side.
Feyenoord striker Santiago Giménez is performing as well as any Mexican overseas. Giménez was a Dutch league winner this season, and was among the top goalscorers in the Europa League. All eyes will be on the 22-year-old.
Cristian Roldan has had an injury-interrupted season for the Seattle Sounders. He has managed just nine MLS appearances in 2023, scoring twice for the west-coast franchise. Slowly but surely, though, the 28-year-old has set about establishing himself in the USMNT, and looks to be a key part of the side’s future as they prepare to co-host the 2026 World Cup together with Mexico and Canada.
Striker Jesús Ferreira has plundered 10 goals in 18 games for FC Dallas in the 2023 MLS campaign - form that earned him his call-up to Team USA this summer. It was Ferreira, 22, who netted the USMNT’s equaliser in last month’s friendly with Mexico, cancelling out Uriel Antuna’s first-half opener.