Mexico faces Panama in a friendly match on Tuesday night at Toyota Park in Chicago, while a World Cup qualifying match with the U.S. looms next month. Four days after facing their rival, Mexico will travel to Panama in another World Cup qualifying match.
El Tri are coming off a 2-1 victory over New Zealand in a friendly on Saturday in front of 40,287 fans in Nashville, Tennessee. In September, Juan Carlos Osorio's squad earned a 3-1 victory over El Salvador on the road, and then followed that up with a scoreless draw at home against Honduras.
Osorio is expected to shake up the roster in preparation for matches that count towards Russia 2018. Midfielder Marco Fabian, who stars for Eintracht Frankfurt, won't be available because he has been called back to Germany. Forward Alan Pulido is also unavailable due to a right knee injury.
It will be interesting to see how much playing time Osorio will give LA Galaxy forward Giovani dos Santos. Osorio was encouraged by Dos Santos' performance against New Zealand, and there is a good chance he can play an important role in qualifying matches.
"Giovani is taking the step to become a different player, and because of the responsibility he showed in the week, he earned the right to be captain today," Osorio told reporters.
"He can lead the group. It was very positive for the well-being of the group, and hopefully, he consolidates himself as that great professional that we all want to see and be the example to follow for many Mexicans."
This is Panama's only friendly since losing to Costa Rica on the road, 3-1, on Sept. 6, but in their first World Cup qualifying match, they earned a home win over Jamaica, 2-0. Panama has been one of the top underdogs in Concacaf, and are capable of playing spoiler once again.
In pre-match interviews, Panama head coach Hernán Darío "Bolillo" Gómez praised Mexico's team, saying "Mexico will always be in the World Cup."
Start Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Unimas and Univision Deportes Network (both Spanish)
Live Stream: FuboTV
Prediction: Mexico 2-1 Panama