Mexico vs. Ecuador Copa Preview: Live Odds, Props, & Expert Analysis

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Mexico vs. Ecuador Copa Preview: Live Odds, Props, & Expert Analysis

Mexico and Ecuador will vie for a place in the Copa America quarterfinals when they clash in Phoenix on Sunday evening. Venezuela has seized control of Group B after winning both of its games so far at the tournament. That leaves Mexico and Ecuador to battle it out for the runner-up spot when they meet at State Farm Stadium.

In Copa America betting, most sportsbooks have Ecuador as a slight favorite to win this game, but bet365 is offering +170 on either team to secure victory. Those odds suggest that we could witness a tight clash between two evenly matched teams this weekend. Mexico is 15 places above Ecuador in the FIFA world rankings, but El Tri are missing captain Edson Álvarez following a hamstring injury. 

Mexico vs. Ecuador live odds & lines

Mexico vs. Ecuador player props

Mexico might have to overcome Álvarez’s absence to win

Edson Álvarez is Mexico’s midfield lynchpin. He can snuff out danger, protect his center-backs, win the ball in key areas of the pitch, and pick out the forwards with neat passes. Álvarez is also a leader on the pitch, which inspired manager Jaime Lozano to make him the team’s captain for this tournament.

Unfortunately, he suffered a hamstring injury in Mexico’s 1-0 victory over Jamaica on Matchday 1, and the team has ruled him out for the rest of the competition. Luis Romo took Álvarez’s place alongside Luis Chávez in the engine room when Mexico faced Venezuela on Wednesday, and he acquitted himself well. However, Álvarez was clearly missed, as El Tri slumped to a damaging defeat after Orbelín Pineda missed a late penalty. Romo and Chávez will need to dominate the midfield in this game and get the ball to the forwards quickly if Mexico is to secure a crucial victory.

Ecuador’s path to victory likely includes Enner Valencia

Ecuadorian captain Enner Valencia was sent off after just 22 minutes on Matchday 1. He caught opponent José Martínez in the face with a late tackle, so his team had to play with 10 men for most of the game. The Ecuadorians battled bravely, but they ultimately lost 2-1.

Valencia was suspended for the team’s second game of the tournament, but Ecuador didn’t miss him too much, beating Jamaica 3-1. However, understudy Kevin Rodríguez did not look particularly dangerous, so Valencia will likely be back in the starting lineup on Sunday. He is Ecuador’s record scorer, with 41 goals in 87 games for his country, and he will be fresh after playing just 22 minutes so far, so he could be the man to win this game for Ecuador.

Mexico expected starting 11

Julio González will start in goal on Sunday. Gerardo Arteaga, Johan Vásquez, César Montes, and Jorge Sánchez will form Mexico’s back four, with Luis Romo and Luis Chávez in midfield. Orbelín Pineda started in the No. 10 role on Matchday 1, but Cruz Azul midfielder Carlos Rodríguez replaced him against Venezuela. Pineda missed a penalty after coming on in the second half, and it remains to be seen if he will start against Ecuador.

Julián Quiñones and Uriel Antuna have played on the wings in both of Mexico’s games so far, with Santiago Giménez up front. They could keep their places, despite drawing a blank against Ecuador, although the manager can turn to Alexis Vega or Roberto Alvarado if he decides to change things up.

Ecuador expected starting 11

Ecuador has a settled starting lineup. Alexander Domínguez is the first-choice goalkeeper, and Piero Hincapié, Willian Pacho, Félix Torres, and Ángelo Preciado play as a back four. Brighton left-back Pervis Estupiñan is injured. Moisés Caicedo of Chelsea anchors the midfield alongside Alan Franco, and that duo will aim to capitalize on the absence of Edson Álvarez.

Jeremy Sarmiento plays on the left wing, with John Yeboah on the right and 17-year-old playmaker Kendry Páez in the No. 10 role. Valencia is expected to return to the starting XI, which would mean that Kevin Rodríguez drops to the bench.

Photo by Associated Press