The U.S. Men’s National Team will experience a different type of challenge with the renewal its long-standing regional rivalry with Mexico in the second match of the fall Kickoff Series on September 11 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (8:30 p.m. ET; ESPN and Univision).
Ahead of USA-Mexico, presented by AT&T, here are five things you should know about the MNT’s archrival.
Mexico’s National Team is known as el El Tri, short for El Tricolor. The name comes from the tri-color scheme of the squad’s traditional uniforms, which consisted of a green jersey, white shorts and red socks.
The colors mimic the country’s flag, which is green, white and red with an eagle devouring a serpent. The eagle can be found on the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol’s official crest. Only recently has Mexico taken to wearing an all-black uniform as its primary kit, thanks to its uniform sponsor.
Just like the U.S., September’s international dates mark the official beginning of the new World Cup cycle for Mexico. El Trí interim head coach Ricardo Ferretti will bring 21 players to Nashville.
The Mexico squad features five players that took part in this summer’s FIFA World Cup, defender Carlos Salcedo, LA Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos, and attacker Raúl Jiménez.
With his squad’s average age coming in at 24 years, 95 days, Ferretti has balanced that experience by summoning 13 players aged 24 and under.
DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Hugo González (Necaxa), Gibrán Lajud (Tijuana)
DEFENDERS (8): José Abella (Santos Laguna), Oswaldo Alanís (Real Oviedo/ESP), Edson Álvarez (Club América), Jesús Angulo (Tijuana), Gerardo Arteaga (Santos Laguna), Jesús Gallardo (Monterrey), Luis Rodríguez (Tigres UANL), Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Erick Aguirre (Pachuca), Roberto Alvarado (Cruz Azul), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy/USA), Jonathan González (Monterrey), Víctor Guzmán (Pachuca), Elías Hernández (Cruz Azul), Diego Lainez (Club América), Orbelín Pineda (Guadalajara)
FORWARDS (4): Raúl Jiménez (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ENG), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey), Alan Pulido (Guadalajara), Ángel Zaldívar (Guadalajara)
MNT HISTORY VS. MEXICO
The U.S. Men’s National Team played its first game against Mexico in 1934, winning 4-2 in Rome, Italy, in a one-off qualifying match for the 1934 FIFA World Cup. The U.S. didn’t win another game against Mexico until 1980, with two goals from Steve Moyers in a 2-1 win on Nov. 23 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
While Mexico had historically dominated the series, competition between the teams has grown into a proper rivalry since 2000 during which the U.S. has held the edge, amassing a record of 13-7-6 against its neighbors to the south in that time. The most important meeting in the modern era came at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan in the Round of 16. Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan knocked Mexico out of the World Cup following a 2-0 shutout at Jeonju Stadium in Jeonju, South Korea.
The most recent meeting came June 11, 2017, a 1-1 draw in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying in front of 71,537 ardent supporters at the vaunted Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
The match is best remembered for MNT midfielder Michael Bradley’s breathtaking chip from distance over Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
NEXT GENERATION OF THE RIVALRY
About half of the U.S. roster has had a taste of the rivalry. Seven have the experience at the senior team level, with DeAndre Yedlin topping out at five times. The others are Bobby Wood (3), Gyasi Zardes (2), Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Julian Green and Eric Lichaj (1 each). In addition, Wil Trapp, Tyler Adams, and Tim Weah have met this foe in youth international competition. Needless to say, there will be storytelling ahead of Tuesday’s encounter.