Mexico boss Osorio hails 'fantastic' opportunity against U.S. in Columbus
The countdown to the Mexico national team's game against the United States in the Hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying in Columbus, Ohio is on and El Tri coach Juan Carlos Osorio is in a positive mood ahead of his squad announcement.
Mexico has lost its past four contests against the Stars and Stripes at MAPFRE Stadium by scores of 2-0, but the under-pressure tactician will be telling his players that the Nov. 11 showdown represents a chance to set the record straight.
"We see it as a fantastic opportunity to go there and change the story and break that statistic," said Osorio in an exclusive interview with ESPN FC that will be published in its entirety on Monday. "We'll play [against] a strong team, with their fans, in a stadium that historically hasn't been good for Mexico. But the opportunity is exactly that."
A meticulous planner, Osorio and his coaching staff have been immersing themselves in games involving Jurgen Klinsmann's likely U.S. call-ups.
"We've been watching the MLS and watching the main players playing," said Osorio.
The former New York Red Bulls coach added that he respects the "very strong" North American league.
"Also, [we've been] watching Borussia Dortmund for [Christian] Pulisic, Ingolstadt for [Alfredo] Morales, Borussia Monchengladbach for Fabian Johnson and so on and so forth -- the Premier League for [Geoff] Cameron and others. I think that we are preparing the game well."
Osorio acknowledged that Klinsmann is a "top manager" who will have his players fired up for CONCACAF's clasico and added that he believes Mexico will need at least six players who are good in the air to counter the United States' aerial threat.
The Mexico squad is scheduled to be announced this Thursday -- although it could be delayed until Friday -- and the team is taking the unusual step of traveling to Columbus on the Monday ahead of the Friday game. For Osorio, it's a no-brainer; with a healthy number of players likely to be called up from European teams, Mexico wants them all to be as fresh as possible.
"We want to [save] our players the extra four hours traveling from [Mexico City] and back," said Osorio. "We've arranged it so we'll go straight to Columbus and we'll be there for four days."
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.