Hector Herrera and Carlos Esquivel - Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire
Hector Herrera and Carlos Esquivel – Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire

When the U.S. national team takes on Mexico on Saturday, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena will hardly feel like home for Jurgen Klinsmann’s troops. The Mexican presence will be felt, rivaling the chants of the American Outlaws. The stage is set for Klinsmann to deliver an awaited triumph over a much weaker Mexican side.

The question stands, “Can Jurgen Klinsmann put together the broken pieces to bring the U.S. back to winning form?” Let’s face it, the 4-1 loss to Brazil in Boston was disastrous, and their fourth place performance in the 2015 Gold Cup was one that displayed the team’s shortcomings. Now, facing their eternal rivals, the U.S.A. battle for a chance to spar with the champions of Europe, South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania in a pointless dress rehearsal for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Jurgen Klinsmann faces undeniable pressure. His tinkering with the line-ups has failed, having not started the same line-up in back-to-back games in more than two years. On Saturday he will be facing a Mexican squad in a state of flux with a part-time manager and a mediocre record, all while holding the title of 2015 Gold Cup Champions.

During his tenure as manager, Klinsmann has an undefeated record of 3-0-3 against Mexico, and has the players to keep that clean sheet going. Mexico’s counter-attack is their fundamental weapon, and the key to preventing that is finding a balance between Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones (perhaps, Kyle Beckerman) that will keep the ball away from Mexico’s Andres Guardado and Hector Herrera (possibly, Jesus Corona).

The key to the American offense is to keep the ball wide with their swift and talented wingers. DeAndre Yedlin and Gyasi Zardes are both entering this game with the proper momentum playing for their respective clubs. With the support of an organized American defense, Yedlin and Zardes offer some serious speed to play down the line and deliver killer passes to Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore who are more than capable of finishing.

This is a 90-minute test for Mexico and USA that will surely decide the fate of both teams despite their results. The ever-loyal American Outlaws are ready to support the red, white, and blue; and the Mexican harmony will fill the Rose Bowl with the divine sound of “Cielito Lindo.” It’s the perfect setting for the clash between two rivals in which the U.S. national team will defeat Mexico in a 2-1 victory that will have us all on the edge of our seats.

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