For the fifth straight time, the U.S. Men’s National Team will use MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio as the site to host USA-Mexico, Presented by AT&T, in the Final Round of CONCACAF qualifying for the FIFA World Cup. Dating back to a frigid night on Feb. 28, 2001, the quadrennial “Hex” encounter with Mexico has grown to become the biggest international soccer match on U.S. soil, with the Americans winning by the now familiar 2-0, or “Dos a Cero” score line, on each occasion.
THERE’S ONLY ONE PLACE FOR USA-MEXICO IN THE HEX
For the third time in the past five World Cup Qualifying cycles, the U.S. will face Mexico to open the final round of qualifying, also known as the “Hex” [the odds of that happening? 0.81 percent]. In the past four cycles, the United States has collected 2-0 shutout victories in this fixture, establishing the rally cry of “Dos a Cero” for U.S. supporters.
On two occasions – in 2005 and 2013 – the victories secured the USA’s advancement to the World Cup.
COLUMBUS – THE FORTRESS
It’s not just against Mexico that the U.S. has had success in CBus. The MNT is unbeaten in 11 matches at MAPFRE Stadium, holding an 8-0-3 lifetime record with a remarkable 10 shutouts. In fact, the U.S. scored 19 times while only surrendering a single goal in those 11 games, during the 1-1 draw against Jamaica on Nov. 17, 2004.
Even more importantly, nine of the matches have been World Cup Qualifiers. The USA is 7-0-2 in those contests, most recently running out 4-0 winners against Guatemala on March 29 earlier this year on Matchday 4 of the Semifinal Round of qualifying.
ONE OF THE BIGGEST RIVALRIES IN THE WORLD
Imagine if Ohio State and Michigan were the size of countries. Now you can start to appreciate the rivalry that is USA-Mexico. In the world of global soccer, there are the storied matchups like Barcelona-Madrid in Spain, Rangers-Celtic in Scotland and Boca Juniors-River Plate in Argentina. What they all have in common are decades of history, classic moments, and off-the-field differences that combined make up a rivalry bigger than sport. In this contest between North American neighbors, the tides turned for good in the biggest meeting of their 82-year history on June 17, 2002, when the United States defeated Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16 of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. “Today is a funeral,” remarked one Mexican fan. “We used to have soccer over them. Now we have nothing.”
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT USA-MEXICO IN COLUMBUS
U.S. MNT head coach JURGEN KLINSMANN
“It means a lot to us to play Mexico in Columbus. Columbus is for us what Azteca Stadium is for them. It’s a game where emotions will go through the roof, and we need to have our crowd behind us bringing their voice against our biggest rival. We know they will. Columbus will rock.”
U.S. MNT captain MICHAEL BRADLEY
“There’s history. There’s an aura in Columbus when we play Mexico. They feel that, we certainly feel that, and we have to continue using that to our advantage.”
U.S. MNT goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
“The results speak for themselves. Columbus was the first soccer-specific stadium where we as players felt a genuine home-field advantage.”
Former U.S. MNT midfielder CHRIS ARMAS (played in the 2-0 win against Mexico on Feb. 28, 2001)
“It seems like any time U.S. Soccer needs a win, we’re going to Columbus. USA-Mexico being the biggest game, there’s something magical about that place when we’re there. The way the fans come out and support us, it’s always pro-American. Of course, it’s great that the Mexicans come out and support their team as well. It adds to the atmosphere. Psychologically, it’s a big part of our sport, and we’re getting three points every time we’re there. It’s a beautiful surface, it’s big, and at certain times a year it’s cold (the colder the better), but there’s so many little things that play into it but Columbus is a great host with great fans. That’s it.
Former U.S. MNT midfielder PABLO MASTROENI (played in the 2-0 win against Mexico on Sept. 3, 2005, and the 2-0 win the 2002 FIFA World Cup)
“I think Columbus is a great host for the USA-Mexico rivalry because it has a long history of fantastic games, with a lot riding on the games, great turnouts, and a wonderful environment in the first soccer-specific stadium in America.”