Golakeeping – No contest. Tim Howard is a world class net minder. Oswaldo Sanchez is capable, but he wanders out of position way too much, especially on set plays. Advantage—US.
Defense – The US is solid in the Middle with Onyewu and Bocanegra, but Steve Cherundolo is out injured. Mexico is missing Jonny Magallon, who had played in every Mexico same since Feb, 2007 before breaking his arm. Both teams will have to deal with opponent's speed. Nothing new for Mexico. The US hasn't really had to deal with it as much, but they will on Wednesday. Advantage—even.
Midfield – Mexico does have a duo of very salty midfielders in Pavel Pardo and Leandro Augusto, but will definitely be missing the very dangerous Andres Guardado. Mexico tends to dominate the midfield vs. the US, albeit fruitlessly. Bradley and Clark might be a little over-matched in the middle, but the American outside has crazy speed. Mexico has speed of their own with Alberto Medina and Giovani Dos Santos, and what Sinha lacks in speed, he more than makes up for it with his vision and creativity. Advantage—Mexico.
Forwards – The US has two very dynamic players in Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan. They have to be accounted for, particularly when they drop back and help out the midfield. Mexico is relying on journeymen and European benchwarmers. The wild card is Nery Castillo. He just missed on his chances in the Gold Cup final. Castillo is the only European who is in any kind of rhythm and possesses technical qualities that are unmatched by anyone else on the Tri. Slight Advantage--US.
Intangibles -- It’s a broken record. The US is in Mexico’s head. They know Mexico has ridiculous amounts of pressure to perform well in this particular game and they exploit it beautifully. Until Mexico learns to deal with it, nothing will change. Since the US are favorites in this game, Mexico really has nothing to lose, which is a position they are quite comfortable with. Advantage—US.