As the U.S. Women’s National Team renews its long-time series with Mexico – the teams will meet in a friendly match on April 8 in Houston, Texas – here are five things to know about Mexico, an opponent that the USA has more in common with than just a history of matches.
The USA and Mexico have met on 34 occasions, with the most recent coming on February 13, 2016 during the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament – a 1-0 U.S. win – in Frisco, Texas. The U.S. Women lead the all-time series against Mexico with a 32-1-1 record.
Mexico is a common opponent for the U.S. WNT in CONCACAF competition.
Before the 2016 matchup, the teams played in Carson, California, where the USA earned a 5-1 victory on May 17, 2015, with Sydney Leroux scoring in the 28th minute, Mexico equalizing in the 39th and then USA scoring four second half goals between the 46th and 72nd minutes to put the match away. Mexico’s goal in that match was scored by Ariana Calderon and it was the first against the USA since Nov. 5, 2010, when the USA lost 2-1 in Cancun, Mexico, during 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying. Since then, the USA has won eight straight.
MEXICO AND ITS U.S. TIES
Over the years, Mexico has featured numerous players who have connections to the USA either by having been born and raised in the United States, played college in the USA or played in the NWSL. Current goalkeeper Emily Alvarado plays her college soccer at TCU in Texas. Goalkeeper Bianca Henniger was the USA’s starting ‘keeper in the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup before changing associations while midfielder Teresa Noyola was also on that squad before she too was granted a change by FIFA. Henniger also plays for the Houston Dash. Noyola was the 2011 MAC Hermann Trophy winner, awarded to the top collegiate player.
More recently, U.S. WNT defender Sofia Huerta was granted a one-time change in national association on Sept. 14, 2017 from FIFA, making her eligible to represent the United States at the international level. Huerta had previously represented Mexico in official competition at the Under-20 National Team level, playing at the 2012 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Japan, and earned five caps at the senior level, which included one against the U.S. in 2013. After earning her first USA cap against New Zealand on Sept. 15, Huerta became the first player to play for and against the senior U.S. Women’s National Team.
U.S. WNT defender Sofia Huerta earned her frist cap for the USA on Sept. 15, 2017.
LIGA MX FEMENIL
On July 2017, Mexico kicked off the inaugural season of their new women’s professional league, Liga MX Femenil, the highest division of women’s soccer in Mexico. Overseen by the FMF (Federación Mexicana de Fútbol), it is made up by teams from 16 out of the 18 Liga MX teams (only Puebla and Chiapas don’t have a team in the women’s league). The goal behind the creation of the league was to nurture and build on the future of the Mexico women’s soccer and the Mexico Women’s National Team.
The champion of the inaugural season was Guadalajara which defeated Pachuca 3-2 on aggregate in the Apertura 2017 Final in November 2017.The two matches drew record crowds of 28,955 and 32,466 fans, a huge success for the debut season of the league.
NEW HEAD COACH
After coaching Mexico’s U-20 squad to the quarterfinals of the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, Robert Medina assumed the role of head coach for the senior side in 2017, bringing a new perspective following the departure of longtime head coach Leonardo Cuellar who stepped down in April 5, 2016, after 18 years of leading the women’s team.
“For me, it’s always a great honor to represent my country,” Medina had said. “It’s a big responsibility and every time we step on the field, we’ll do it in the most dignified manner, worthy to represent these colors.”
Born on April 18, 1968 in Mexico City, Medina began his career as a player in Mexico’s First Division playing for various clubs. He also won the Gold Cup playing for Mexico in 1998.
MEXICO IN 2017
During its 2017 campaign, the Mexico’s Women’s National Team played eight international matches.
In February, La Tricolor traveled to Vancouver to face Canada at BC Place in front of more than 20,000 fans. Nancy Antonio and Kaitlyn Johnson scored for Mexico but it wasn’t enough with Canada coming away with a 3-2 win.
In June, Mexico faced Venezuela in Monterrey and defeated the South American side, 3-0 at Estadio Tecnológico. Charlyn Corral, Kenti Robles and Stephany Mayor scored for Mexico. The following month, Mexico fell to Sweden, 1-0 in Falkenberg, Sweden.
Charlyn Corral scored for Mexico against Venezuela in 2017.
Mexico returned to international play with three matches in October at the Yongchuan Four Nations Tournament in China. Despite close score lines, Mexico dropped all three of its matches, against Brazil on Oct. 19 (3-0), against China on Oct. 21 (3-2) and against Korea Republic on Oct. 24 (1-0).
To close out its year, Mexico traveled to Costa Rica for a pair of friendlies on Nov. 25 and Nov. 27. The teams split the results with Mexico losing the first match 3-2 and winning the second one 2-0.