Friday marks the start of the final round of World Cup Qualifying for CONCACAF. The USA vs. Mexico headlines match day 1.
USA vs. Mexico is the premier rivalry in the CONCACAF region. The US has held a recent advantage in the WCQ series in Columbus, with a number of 2-0 wins (better known as Dos a Cero), and whatever happens, someone is sure to be in a bad mood going into the second leg of qualifying
Who makes the best combined XI for these bitter rivals?
GK – Tim Howard
Did you not watch the MLS playoffs this weekend? Howard was in firm form, winning the PKs over the LA Galaxy to push Colorado into the final four. (Source: Twitter)
RB – DeAndre Yedlin
The clear right back choice. He has given up the EPL for the Championship and Newcastle, but Yedlin has top flight quality. (Source: Twitter)
Centerback – Héctor Moreno
Probably the most experienced and solid choice at centerback for all of North America. Maybe Wes Morgan of Jamaica could challenge him.
CB – Diego Reyes
Still relatively new the international game, but has the quality level to see him in the Champions League for years to come. A clear successor to Moreno when the day comes. (Source: Twitter)
LB – Fabian Johnson
The super utility man. Fabian could seriously start in at least four positions for not just his club and country, but even this combined roster. (Source: Twitter)
RW – Christian Pulisic
The new boy wonder of US soccer. Thriving in Germany already in the Dortmund setup, and only a teenager. He has the ability to play box-to-box, score, and assist. (Source: Twitter)
CM – Michael Bradley
The American captain. After a few mishits in recent games, and an up and down Copa America this past summer, Bradley came alive in the last half of the MLS season. (Source: Twitter)
CM – Andrés Guardado
The perfect combo with Bradley. The heart and soul of Mexico, dominating the middle of the park with his counterpart for the US. (Source: Twitter)
LW – Giovani dos Santos
Santos had a great season with the Galaxy, and a bad final kick. However, the MLS stint has revised his national team career, and is too versatile to leave out of this setup. (Source: Twitter)
FW – Jozy Altidore
Another player riding high from the MLS playoffs. Would offer great holdup play, and partner with Javier similar to his combo work with Giovinco in Toronto. (Source: Twitter)
FW – Javier Hernández
Back to great form with Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga after fading away from United and then Madrid. 22 goals in 36 matches, the little pea is Mexico's deadly weapon. (Source: Twitter)
Seriously though, check out this streak of US/Mexico battles held in Columbus, Ohio – there have been four all time.
2/28/01 – 2002 WCQ, US wins 2-0
9/2/05 – 2006 WCQ, US wins 2-0
2/11/09 – 2010 WCQ, US wins 2-0
9/10/13 – 2014 WCQ, US wins 2-0
There is our combined best XI for US & Mexico. Honestly, I think that this team would not only roll CONCACAF undefeated, but would challenge at the World Cup. This is a final eight team easily. The squad has pace and experience all over the place. The biggest issue would just be getting these North American rivals to work together.