Mexico will be guaranteed a first place finish in Group B of the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League with one game remaining, provided it gets a point in Friday’s match against Panama.
El Tri travel to the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City having won both of their games so far, and they can establish an unassailable six-point cushion if they make it three-for-three.
How to Watch:
When: Friday, November 15
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
Panama may well be short on confidence considering its lost back-to-back games at home, failing to score in recent defeats against Bermuda (2-0) and the United States (1-0). Carlos Salcedo’s goal at the Estadio Azteca ensured the team at least got off the mark in a 3-1 defeat to Mexico in October. That result put Gerardo Martino’s men on the cusp of a place in the Nations League semifinals, all while promoting a new batch of up-and-coming talent.
Roberto Alvarado, 21, and Jose Juan Macias, 20, each scored in last month’s win over Panama, and Martino has once again selected a squad brimming with young prospects. Fifteen of the 23 players in Mexico’s current squad are 24-years-old or younger (including three uncapped players).
The odds appear stacked in Mexico’s favor, though it’s worth noting Panama held its rivals to a 0-0 stalemate the last time it hosted in November 2016. Los Canaleros also forced extra time against El Tri when they met at the 2015 Gold Cup. Two Andres Guardado penalties saved a dramatic 2-1 win for Mexico.
Luckily for Martino, a draw this time around would be enough to secure the outcome his side is after, thus making Wednesday’s curtain call at home to Bermuda a dead rubber.
Panama has scored two goals in its last seven games against Mexico, but it must cease that pattern if it hopes to extend its stay in the 2019-20 CONCACAF Nations League.