Gold Cup Final 2011, USA Vs. Mexico: El Tri Lineup Analysis

Well, it was all a bunch of smoke and mirrors from 'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre after all. Last night, when asked about the playing status of Andres Guardado and Carlos Salcido, his left sided players who were injured against Honduras, he said that they were game time decisions. No new news came out on either of them during the day and, lo and behold, they're both in the starting lineup. Of course, Chepo probably knew this all along and just didn't want to give Bob Bradley any ideas. Check here for the Mexico lineup to face the USA in the Gold Cup final.

Andres Guardado is very much in the running for player of the tournament and his play has been spectacular for Mexico, so it's a huge relief for El Tri fans that he's in the lineup. However, if he's not at 100 percent, it's arguable that they would have been better off starting Angel Reyna. His form for Club America in the 2011 Clausura was stunning, and him at 100 percent is better than Guardado at 75 percent.

The matchup between Guardado and Steve Cherundolo could be huge, as the U.S. is very dangerous when Cherundolo gets up the flank and puts in crosses. Guardado will need to keep him pinned back to help keep the United States playing narrow.

Pablo Barrera starts wide right as expected, and his matchup against USMNT left back Eric Lichaj will be key. The Aston Villa man is a great young athlete who will probably start for the United States and in the English Premier League for years into the future, but at present time, Barrera has the advantage. The Mexico right winger has outplayed every left back he has faced this year in a Mexico shirt, and Lichaj should be no exception. Landon Donovan will need to help on Barrera and break up plays down that flank. With the U.S. questionable defensively down the left and Guardado's injury, Mexico could be a very right-leaning team.

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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