One of international soccer's most heated rivalries renews on Saturday, and fans can watch live online when the USA Men's National Soccer Team faces Mexico in front of an expected crowd of 90,000 at the Rose Bowl. The contest is a do-or-die one-game playoff to determine which team earns a trip to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia — the precursor to the World Cup, held in the same country the following year.
The regional soccer governing body CONCACAF has designated the one-game competition as The CONCACAF Cup — but actually the game is a decider between the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup Winner, and the winner of the same tournament two years earlier. Mexico won the Gold Cup this year, Team USA in 2013.
The Confederations Cup features the eight winners of the various international regional confederations tournaments — such as the UEFA European Championships to be held next year. But most of those competitions are held every four years. The CONCACAF Gold Cup comes around ever two years.
As a result, when two different teams — almost always either USA or Mexico — win the two tournaments, a single-game playoff determines which one wins the Confederations Cup berth.
But for the USA, the game takes on additional meaning — because the USA Men's National Team has struggled badly this year, putting pressure on Manager Jurgen Klinsmann to get a win over Mexico on Saturday.
The USA performance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, falling in the semifinals to Jamaica and, adding insult to injury, dropping the third-place match as well, to Panama, was a low point for a team that just a year earlier made it to the knockout stage of the World Cup in Brazil before losing a heartbreaker to Belgium.
A win in the CONCACAF Cup playoff over Mexico would go a long way toward redemption for the USA team, as well as for Klinsmann to justify his continued position as national team manager.
To find out how to watch the Team USA vs. Mexico CONCACAF Cup playoff match live online, see the streaming info in the final paragraph of this article. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time on October 10, 9:30 Eastern Time, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
While the USMNT has performed well below expectations in 2015, Mexico — despite winning the Gold Cup — is also in a state of disarray, without even a permanent coach in place. But that won't make the rivalry any less meaningful.
"You sense [the intensity] on the field and off the field – it's everywhere," said USA star Clint Dempsey. "Playing pickup with your friends, we were always talking trash in high school. It was USA versus Mexico or the rest of the world. It was always about bragging rights."
"This is a one-off game," said USA Captain Michael Bradley. "The way it has come together, the way it has been built up, it has the potential to be one of the biggest U.S.-Mexico games in a long, long time."
Team USA has taken part in four Confederations Cup tournaments, with their best performance coming in 2009 when, under Coach Bob Bradley, they pulled off a spectacular upset of Spain in the semifinal before losing to Brazil in the title game.
Mexico has made five Confederations Cup visits — winning the tournament in 1999.
Can the USA Men's National Soccer Team resurrect its moribund year and advance to the Confederations Cup? Or will Mexico deal year another blow to to USA Manager Jurgen Klinsmann, possibly costing the German coach his job? To find out, watch the USA vs. Mexico CONCACAF Cup playoff match live online from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Californi,a by visiting Fox Sports Go at this link, or by paying for a subscription to Fox Soccer2Go, available at this link.
[Feature Image: Chris Covatta / Getty Images]