Five Things to Know: Mexico

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Having clinched its spot in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the U.S. Women’s National team looks to secure the top spot in Group A as it takes on hosts Mexico on Monday, July 11 in the final match day of group play at the 2022 Concacaf W Championship. The teams will square off at Monterrey’s Estadio Universitario, the site of the USA’s tournament-opening win over Haiti, at 9 p.m. local / 10 p.m. ET on Paramount+ and ViX.


While the USA has already booked its spot in the semifinal round, El Tri Femenil is playing to keep its World Cup hopes alive. Mexico needs a win over the USA and a favorable outcome in the other Group A match between Haiti and Jamaica to land a spot in the 10-team FIFA Inter-Confederation Playoffs which will determine the final three teams for the World Cup.

Get ready for the Group A finale with Five Things to Know about Mexico.

LAST TIME OUT

Following a 1-0 loss to Jamaica in its opening match of the Concacaf W Championship, Mexico tasted defeat again in its second game of group play, falling to Haiti, 3-0, on Thursday night at Estadio BBVA.


Mexico, which fell behind in the eighth minute against the Reggae Girlz, once again found itself facing an early deficit as Haiti was awarded a penalty kick in the 13th minute after Mexican defender Stephany Mayor committed a foul in the penalty area. Haitian attacker Roselord Borgella, who hit the woodwork on her July 4 penalty kick attempt against the USA, and had a red card rescinded and changed to a yellow against the USA despite raking her cleat on various parts of Kelley O’Hara, buried her strike from the spot to give Haiti a 1-0 advantage over the hosts.  Despite 74 percent possession in the opening half, Mexico was held to just four shots – none of which were on target – in the first 45 minutes and headed to the locker room trailing 1-0.

The fortunes for El Tri Femenil would not improve in the second half as Haiti was awarded another penalty kick in the 64th minute and Nerilia Mondesir made it 2-0 from the spot in the 66th. ­

Mexico pushed to erase the deficit, but the task was made even more daunting when defender Greta Espinoza was shown a red card in in the 77th for a foul committed as the last defender. Sherly Jeudy scored off the ensuing free kick from the edge of the area to give Haiti an insurmountable 3-0 lead. Mexico was unable to find the back of the net for the second consecutive match as it suffered its second loss in two games at the Concacaf W Championship.

MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB IN MONTERREY

Winless through its first two matches of the tournament, Mexico is currently fourth in the Group A standings. Under the new format for the Concacaf W Championship, the top two teams from each group automatically qualify for the 2023 World Cup while the third-place finisher from each group advances to the intercontinental play-off, which will be held in New Zealand in February of 2023.

With six points through two matches, the USA has already punched its ticket to Australia and New Zealand and is guaranteed to finish no worse than second in Group A. The Americans are assured to top Group A with a win or draw against Mexico. Haiti and Jamaica are both on three points and will square off on Monday to determine which of the two Caribbean nations will grab the automatic berth to the World Cup. Due to a superior goal differential, a win or draw against Jamaica would send Haiti to its first ever Women’s World Cup while Jamaica needs a victory to secure a top-two finish in the group.

Mexico’s World Cup hopes now hang on a spot in the intercontinental playoff, where 10 teams will compete for the final three spots in the expanded 32-team field for Australia/New Zealand 2023. However, reaching the intercontinental playoff will be no small feat as Mexico must beat the USA – something it has only done once in 41
all-time meetings between the regional rivals – and must also overtake Jamaica or Haiti on goal differential to climb into third in the group standings.

INSIDE THE ROSTER

Mexico’s roster for the 2022 Concacaf W Championship is comprised of 15 players who play their club soccer domestically in Liga MX Femenil, including six from four-time overall champions Tigres UANL and four from reigning Apertura champions Chivas. Forward Alicia Cervantes, who plays for Chivas, has led the league in scoring each of the past two seasons but has totaled just one shot in 68 minutes of action at the 2022 Concacaf W Championship.

Two players – goalkeeper Emily Alvarado, who plays her club soccer in France for Stade de Reims, and midfielder Stephany Mayor, who plays for Tigres, have played every minute for Mexico so far this tournament.

Of the eight players playing their club soccer outside of Mexico, five compete in the United States with two college players (Maricarmen Reyes from UCLA and Alexia Delgado from Arizona State) and three NWSL Players. Maria Sanchez, who is from Idaho and played collegiately for both Idaho and Santa Clara, plays for the Houston Dash. Defender Jimena Lopez played collegiately at Texas A&M and is club teammates at OL Reign with the USA’s Alana Cook, Sofia Huerta, Rose Lavelle and Megan Rapinoe. Forward Diana Ordonez, who played on the U.S. Youth Women’s National Teams, played her collegiate soccer at the University of Virginia and is a club teammate of U.S. goalkeeper Casey Murphy with the North Carolina Courage.

MEXICO WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION


Goalkeepers (3):
1-Emily Alvarado (Stade de Reims, FRA), 12-Itzel Gonzalez (Club America), 21-Melany Villeda (Pumas UNAM)

Defenders (5): 2-Kenti Robles (Real Madrid CF, ESP), 3-Greta Espinoza (Tigres UANL), 4-Rebeca Bernal (CF Monterrey), 5-Jimena Lopez (OL Reign, USA), 13-Bianca Sierra (Tigres UANL)

Midfielders (10): 6-Alexia Delgado (Arizona State, USA), 8-Carolina Jaramillo (Chivas), 10-Stephany Mayor (Tigres UANL), 14-Casandra Montero (Chivas), 15-Cristina Ferral (Tigres UANL), 16-Nancy Antonio (Tigres UANL), 17-Jaqueline Ovalle (Tigres UANL), 18-Joseline Montoya (Chivas), 20-Diana Garcia (CF Monterrey), 23-Maricarmen Reyes (UCLA, USA)

Forwards (5): 7-Myra Delgadillo (SC Braga, POR), 9-Katty Martinez (Club America), 11-Maria Sanchez (Houston Dash, USA), 19-Alicia Cervantes (Chivas), 22-Diana Ordonez (North Carolina Courage, USA)

SERIES HISTORY: USA vs. MEXICO

Monday’s match in Monterrey will be the 42nd meeting all-time between the USA and Mexico, which will move Mexico into tie with Sweden for the fourth most common opponent in USA history, trailing only Canada (62 games), China PR (58) and Norway (50). The USA leads the overall series with Mexico, 39-1-1, and has won the last 15 head-to-head meetings between the teams by an overall margin of 64-4.

The USA and Mexico squared off most recently in the Send-Off Series in July of 2021, prior to the USWNT’s departure for the Tokyo Olympics. The teams played twice in East Hartford, Connecticut, resulting in a pair of 4-0 wins for the USA on July 1 and July 5.

This will be the first meeting between the USA and Mexico in a competitive match since squaring off on February 7, 2020, in the semifinals of Concacaf Olympic Qualifying. The USA won 4-0 behind goals from Rose Lavelle, Samantha Mewis (x2) and Christen Press to clinch its spot in the Tokyo Olympics.

Mexico is the opponent the USA has faced most frequently in World Cup and Olympic Qualifying, with the teams meeting 13 times previously in Concacaf Qualifying. The USA has won 12 of those 13 meetings with Mexico’s only victory in qualifying – and only win ever against the USA – coming in the last matchup between the teams in Mexico, a 2-1 victory for the home side in the semifinals of World Cup Qualifying in Cancun. Mexico’s only other result against the USA came during an October 2007 friendly in Albuquerque, New Mexico, drawing 1-1.

GROWING THE GAME

Despite disappointing results in its first two games at the Concacaf W Championship, women’s soccer has made significant strides in Mexico in recent years. The Federación Mexicana de Fútbol officially launched the Liga MX Femenil in 2017 and the league has shown some tremendous growth and been successful both on the field and in the stands, drawing some impressive crowds.

When originally founded, Liga MX Femenil had been restricted to allowing only Mexican-born players, though in 2018, a rule change allowed teams to sign up to six Mexican-American players and at present teams are now allowed to sign up to four foreign-born players. There are several Americans playing in the league including former U.S. Youth International and UCLA star Mia Fishel (Tigres UNAL) and former Cal-State Fullerton player and Orlando Pride forward Christina Burkenroad (CF Monterrey), who is Mexican-American.

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