Mexico vs El Salvador
Mexico vs El Salvador

El Tri is nearly there. After a long and arduous CONCACAF qualifying campaign that has raised more questions than answers, marred by sputtering performances and inconsistent contributions, Mexico has one foot in the 2022 World Cup door.

Tata Martino needs either a win or draw against El Salvador to wrap up a place in Qatar on his own terms, while a U.S. result against Costa Rica would also do the trick.

El Salvador is eliminated from World Cup contention, but will look to finish World Cup qualifying on a high note at the famed Estadio Azteca.

7:05 p.m.: The shop scene outside the Estadio Azteca is bustling hours before kickoff, although the pollution levels in the Mexico City air are also reportedly high.

Mexico vs. El Salvador lineups
After a World Cup qualifying campaign beset by inconsistency, Mexico has stuck with the same starting lineup across the first two matches of this window. But manager Tata Martino rang in the changes for El Salvador.

Midfielder Hector Herrera suspended for yellow card accumulation, is replaced by PSV midfielder Erick Gutierrez, who has made two substitute appearances this window and has 29 overall caps.

MORE: Which teams are in the 2022 World Cup draw?

Martino made two changes in the attack with Uriel Antuna and Alexis Vega replacing wingers Hirving ‘Chucky’ Lozano and Tecatito Corona.

Mexico starting lineup (4-3-3): Memo Ochoa (GK) — Jesus Gallardo, Nestor Araujo, Cesar Montes, Jorge Sanchez — Erick Gutierrez, Edson Alvarez, Charly Rodriguez — Alexis Vega, Raul Jimenez, Uriel Antuna.

Mexico subs (11): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)

Predicting the El Salvador lineup is difficult, as Hugo Perez is experimenting with both personnel and tactics after officially being eliminated from World Cup contention. Last time out against Costa Rica, Perez utilized a 5-4-1 lineup, while a more conventional 4-2-3-1 was deployed in the Jamaica match earlier this window.

One missing piece is Alex Larin is suspended due to yellow card accumulation and will likely be replaced at left back by Miguel Lemus, while captain Darwin Ceren is back from his yellow card suspension served against Costa Rica.

Also of note, vice-captain Roberto Dominguez was forced off early in the last match with an injury and could miss out on this game. That could necessitate a return to the 4-2-3-1 with a shortage of center backs. Romulo Villalobos got the start against Costa Rica, but was yanked at halftime in favor of Eriq Zavaleta.

The midfielders and attackers used are entirely up in the air. Perez changed out the entire midfield and attack between the two matches this window, and it’s tough to tell who will get the nod. Against Jamaica, Nelson Bonilla got the start at striker but was withdrawn for a tactical change just 34 minutes in, while Cristian Gil got 76 minutes against Costa Rica, and Styven Vasquez came on as the substitute in both instances.

El Salvador projected starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Gonzalez (GK) — Lemus, Zavaleta, Rodriguez, Tamacas — Ceren, Landaverde — Rivas, Santamaria, Henriquez — Gil.

El Salvador subs (11): (Lineups released one hour prior to kickoff)

How to watch Mexico vs. El Salvador
Date: Wednesday, Mar. 29
Time: 9:05 p.m. ET
Spanish-language TV: Univision, TUDN
Streaming: fuboTV, Paramount+
Wednesday’s match between Mexico and El Salvador from Estadio Azteca in Mexico City will be broadcast on Univision and TUDN (Spanish) in the USA.

Both those channels are streamed on fuboTV, which is available to new users on a free trial. The match will also be streamed in English on Paramount+ for subscribers.

Mexico vs. El Salvador betting pick & prediction
Odds courtesy of DraftKings

Despite being on the road, Mexico is a heavy favorite to get a result and officially secure World Cup qualification.

Still, Mexico is in poor goalscoring form, especially on the road, and while the result may be in little doubt, an under on the total could be a productive selection. The under has hit in each of Mexico’s last four matches, and El Tri has only scored two goals or more in home World Cup qualifying matches against last-placed Jamaica and Honduras.

Meanwhile, El Salvador has actually been decent on the road, securing four points between recent visits to Jamaica and Honduras, plus a close 1-0 loss to the U.S. in Columbus. Add that to one-goal defeats at Costa Rica and Panama, and this is a team that brings its best away from the friendly confines.

Moneyline: Mexico -900 / Draw +750 / El Salvador +1700
Spread: Mexico -2.5 (+110) / El Salvador +2.5 (-150)
O/U 2.5 total goals: Over -180 / Under +140
Both teams to score: Yes +190 / No -265

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