Mexico beats Honduras 3-0, closes in on World Cup berth

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

With 13 points through five matches, they've already eclipsed the 11 they picked up during the Hex ahead of the 2014 World Cup, and seem to be a sure bet to qualify for the World Cup in Russian Federation next summer. The 7,200 feet of altitude, humid conditions, smog and 87,000 or more El Trí fans all play their part in creating the heavy home-field advantage Mexico relies on at the vaunted stadium.

Fans celebrate with US midfielder Christian Pulisic, front, after he scored his second goal against Trinidad & Tobago, in the second half of a World Cup soccer qualifying match Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Commerce City.

Returning to Mexico City seven years later, Roy was part of the patchwork USA side that had gained only one point from its home-and-away set of qualifiers against Canada weeks earlier, though the striker was in form, having tallied in both matches. Mexico know they haven't beaten the U.S. in their last two tries at the Azteca - the Americans beat their rivals 1-0 in a friendly in 2012 before the scoreless draw in the Hex in 2013 - and they'll want a bit of revenge on Sunday night. The U.S. MNT has visited the vaunted venue on 11 occasions, mostly for World Cup Qualifying, and gone just 1-8-2.

"When these guys are bearing down on you, Donald Trump is the last thing on your mind", US goalkeeper Tim Howard said Saturday at the cavernous stadium. Midway through the qualifying campaign, United States of America occupy the final qualifying berth, sitting just one point above fourth-placed Panama and there are no doubts they will be under pressure when facing leaders Mexico.

Mexico appears ready for its World Cup qualifying showdown vs. the United States.

"I think we have to see how our players recover", he said on mlssoccer.com on Thursday. I experience on a daily basis people of Mexican heritage. They're wonderful people. They contribute greatly to our society in many ways. "It's exciting, because the other side of the fear factor is success and joy, and so we're going to hopefully have some of that". And I understand it, he's a very competitive guy. The U.S. has already lost two of those games, meaning they at most lost two points that they should have picked up if expectations for those two games at the bare minimum were draws.

The top three qualify, and fourth-place team advances to a playoff against Asia's No. 5 nation.

It was a drab first 45 minutes from Honduras, whose poor World Cup qualifying campaign has them sitting penultimate in the Hexagonal.

Still, opponents have been able to come away with draws. He was also the only player in the squad to have experienced a qualifier in Mexico, coming when the US fell 2-0 at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario in 1965.

"He wants to be on the field", Arena said. "I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that".

Let's start with Mexico, whose goals are simple: win at the impenetrable fortress Azteca, and El Tri can start packing their bags and learning basic Russian, because it'll be hard for them miss out on the 2018 World Cup. There is a small lower deck, topped by three levels of suites and a huge upper deck that rises to a roof. "We might make a couple changes to that, but we're pretty set on what we're going to do on Sunday". "So hopefully we can silence them", midfielder Kellyn Acosta said. In the three previous cycles where the US has lost at the Azteca, they've qualified. Most recently, Michael Orozco scored the game-winning goal in the USA's historic 1-0 friendly win against El Trí on August 15, 2012.

"I'm just trying to stay aggressive and trying to help this team anyway I can", he said. "Before then, it was what if?"

Pulisic has seven goals in 15 global appearances.

With just about a week to go for the tournament to begin, we take a look at the five teams who have won this tournament in the past.

Osorio admitted that had it been a final, the likes of Andres Guardado and Rafa Marquez would've started, but both were left out entirely.

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