The United States Women’s National Team kick off their 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship soccer campaign against Mexico at Sahlen’s Stadium in Cary, North Carolina on Thursday (7:30PM ET).
The competition crowns CONCACAF’s best side and also acts as the region’s World Cup qualifying process. The winner, losing finalist and third-place side will all qualify directly, while the fourth-place team will face Argentina in a playoff for a place at France 2019.
USWNT are reigning champions after a comfortable victory over Costa Rica in the 2014 final and are again the clear favorites with the U.S. offshore oddsmakers this time around. They have won seven of the eight CONCACAF Women’s Championships they have contested, have a 100% record of 13 wins from 13 matches in fixtures held on home soil, and have only ever lost on one occasion.
Jill Ellis’ side also come into this year’s tournament on the back of a 21-match unbeaten streak of 18 victories and three draws that began last July. They have triumphed in two friendly competitions this year – the SheBelieves Cup in March and the Tournament of Nations in June and July – and seem to be gearing up well for next year’s World Cup.
The team’s 20-women squad for the tournament features few surprises. All of those selected have been involved in recent times and it is starting to become clear that Ellis has a good idea of the majority of the players she is likely to take to France next summer as the US seek to defend the trophy they won in Canada back in 2015.
There are still a few issues to sort out, particularly in midfield, but Team USA have showed this year that they have offensive capabilities that few of their rivals can match. The seven goals they scored in back-to-back friendly wins over Chile last month took their total for the year to 37 goals from 13 matches. They will certainly expect to add a few more to that tally during the CONCACAF Women’s Championship.
Ellis’ side have been drawn in Group A alongside Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Panama. Neither of the latter pair feature in the top 50 of the FIFA rankings. While Mexico are in the top 25 and are the third-best side in CONCACAF behind the United States and Canada (the only other side to win the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, on two occasions), they were nevertheless beaten 4-1 and 6-2 in a couple of friendlies against the US earlier this year.
Mexico do hold a special place in the region’s history books as the one and only side to have defeated the United States in a CONCACAF Women’s Championship match. Current squad members Kenti Robles and Nayeli Rangel were both involved in their 2-1 victory in Cancun in the semi-final of the 2010 tournament, but it is difficult to see them reproducing that result on Thursday.
While Mexico are a pretty good side, and will surely improve in the coming years following the launch of a professional league in the country last year, it is necessary to go back almost three years to find the last time they beat a team positioned above them in the FIFA rankings. That was a 2-0 win against South Korea in January 2016. They have lost all nine of their matches against United States since that surprise win in 2010.
Mexico’s primary aim at this tournament will be to secure their automatic qualification to a third consecutive World Cup. If everything goes as expected that will mean defeating Costa Rica in the third-place playoff after losing to Canada in their semi-final. While they would love to pull off an upset win against USWNT, it is the following two group matches that are much more important to their overall ambitions.
Team USA will be keen to begin the tournament on a positive note and have the necessary firepower in the likes of Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh and others to rack up a convincing victory in their opening match.
Our Preview’s Team USA vs. Mexico Women’s National Team Picks & Predictions Verdict
As usual the sportsbooks are slow and reticent to post the odds on women’s soccer internationals, so at the time of writing this USWNT vs Mexico preview, there are no betting lines.
There will be closer to the game and our recommendation – of all possible betting predictions – would be a pick along the lines of one of these two suggestions:
- Bet on United States to win in a match featuring over 3.5 goals.
- Alternatively, bet on USWNT -2.5 goals on the spread.