USA Vs. Mexico, 2011 Gold Cup Final: Exploiting Set Pieces Key For USMNT Against El Tri

Even in their top performances against Mexico, the United States generally doesn't do a great job of keeping possession. For a variety of reasons, even when Mexico is not at their best, they can usually keep the ball a little better than their opponents. The United States have a lot of big, strong, fast players who play well on the break, while Mexico have similarly fast, but smaller and more technically adept players. This may sound like stereotyping, but it is absolutely the case with these two sides in this particular match. So, it's a classic strength versus technical class battle from open play, but open play isn't the whole story.

The United States, as always, has a variety of players who can score on set pieces. With 'Maza' Fransisco Rodriguez and Aldo de Nigris in the game, Mexico can defend them well, but Maza was sent home for doping and de Nigris is likely to start the game on the bench. While the United States' biggest, strongest striker Jozy Altidore will be unavailable for the game, the two central defenders are very adept at scoring on set pieces, as are Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley.

If Mexico keeps the ball well and their defensive positioning is on point, it might be difficult for the United States to score from open play. However, they will have an advantage on set pieces, and they will look to exploit it. It wouldn't be the least bit surprising to see big Clarence Goodson net a goal today on a corner kick.

For more on how the two teams got to this point, check out our USA vs. Panama stream and our Mexico vs. Honduras stream. For more updates leading up to USA vs. Mexico, bookmark this StoryStream. For all of our previous Gold Cup coverage, check out the Gold Cup 2011 section. For more on Mexican football, including the Mexican national team, the Mexico vs. USA game, and the Mexican Primera, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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