Five Things to Know About Mexico

Watch USA-Mexico on Wednesday, April 19 at 10 pm ET on TBS, Telemundo HBOMax, Universo, Peacock; Hydrated by BioSteel
Michael Lewis

The U.S. Men’s National Team hosts its neighbors from south, Mexico, in the first Allstate Continental Clásico at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Wednesday, April 19 at 10 p.m. ET (TBS, Telemundo, HBO Max, Universo, Peacock).

The USA will try to extend its unbeaten run against El Tri to five games, having last lost to its rivals in 2019. The game is a pre-cursor to the Concacaf Nations League semifinal match up, set for June 15 in Las Vegas.

Here are five things to know about Wednesday’s opponent.

FOOTBALLING HISTORY

Historically, Mexico has been one of the strongest teams in the region, qualifying for the past eight FIFA World Cups and 17 overall. El Trí participated in the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, in which there was no qualifying. El Tri’s best World Cup showings came when they hosted the tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals in both 1970 and 1986.

Mexico has also captured the Concacaf Gold Cup a record eight times (1993, 1996, 1998 2003, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2019).

They also have made seven appearances in the FIFA Confederations Cup, beginning in 1995, and winning the championship in 1999.

In 2012, Mexico  made history, becoming the first Concacaf country win an Olympic gold medal, at the London Summer Games, besting Brazil in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Javier (Chichatrito) Hernandez, who plays with the LA Galaxy (MLS) is the all-time leading goal-scoring, finding the net 52 times in 109 matches.

USMNT HISTORY VS. MEXICO

The first time these two rivals met, the USMNT prevailed in a one-match, winner-takes-all qualifier in Rome, Italy only days prior to the start of the 1934 World Cup. Aldo “Buff” Donelli scored four times for the USA en route to a 4-2 win. In the first qualifying tournament for Brazil 1950, Mexico won both games in Mexico City, 6-0 and 6-2. That started a 31-year run in Mexico WCQ dominance over the USA in which their rivals to the south forged a 12-0-3 record.

Mexico leads the all-time series, 36-22-16. However the USMNT enter the match with a four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) against their archrivals, having last tasting defeat to Mexico in a 3-0 result in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sept. 6, 2019.

They started their streak with a 3-2 extra time win in the 2021 Concacaf Nations League final at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo. on June 6, 2021, in a match that was decided by a pair of penalty kicks. Christian Pulisic converted his spot kick in the 110th minute. Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, who came off the bench in the second half to replace the injured Zack Steffen, denied Andres Guardado's penalty kick four minutes into stoppage time in the second extra time.

They continued it with a 1-0 extra time triumph in the Concacaf Gold Cup final in Las Vegas on Aug. 1, 2021. Defender Miles Robinson headed home Kellyn Acosta's free kick from seven yards in the 117th minute at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

They continued their dos a cero mastery over the Mexico in Ohio with a 2-0 win in a FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifier at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 2021. Tim Weah set up second-half substitute Christian Pulisic for the winning goal in the 74th minute and Weston McKennie added an insurance tally in the 85th minute to seal the fifth 2-0 WCQ result in the state (2001, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2021).

Most recently the USMNT frustrated El Tri at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in another WCQ match via a scoreless draw on March 24, 2022 – an important result that pushed the team to the brink of World Cup qualification.

RECENT MATCHES

Mexico went three and out at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar with a 1-1-1 mark. In their opener, El Tri played Poland to a scoreless draw in Doha on Nov. 22 and dropped a 2-0 decision to eventual-champion Argentina in its second encounter in Lusail on Nov. 26. Mexico bounced back with a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in its group finale in Lusail on Nov. 30. Henry Martin (47th minute) and Luis Chavez (52nd minute) scored before the Saudis found the net in stoppage time.

El Tri has played twice in 2023, closing out their Concacaf Nations League group matches in March.

They blanked host Suriname 2-0 in Paramaribo on March 23 with Johan Vasquez tallying in the 64th minute and Suriname’s Damil Dankerlui contributing an own goal in the 82nd minute at Frank Essed Stadion.

Mexico then registered a 2-2 tie with Jamaica at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on March 26. Orbelín Pineda erased a Bobby Decordova-Reid goal in the 17th minute. After an Edson Alvarez own goal gave the  Reggae Boyz a 2-1 lead in the 33rd minute, Hirivng Lozano converted a penalty kick two minutes into first-half stoppage time, helping Mexico clinch the group and a place in June’s CNL Final Four.

MEXICO MANAGER

Diego Cocca was named Mexico manager on Feb. 10, 2023, a day after he stepped down as Tigres UANL boss.

Born on Feb. 11, 1972, Cocca forged a long career as a right back in his native Argentina, starting as an 18-year-odl with River Plate. He went on to perform for Deportivo Espanol, Ferro Carril Oeste, Lleida, Argentinos and Banfield in Argentina and Atlas, Veracruz and Queretaro in Mexico. Cocca also was a member of the squad that competed at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 1991.

After retiring in 2006, a year later Cocca embarked on a long coaching career in three countries that included clubs in his native Argentina (C.A.I., Godoy Cruz, Gimnasia LP, Huracán, Defensa y Justicia, Racing Club and Rosario Central), Colombia (Millonarios), and Mexico (Santos Laguna, Tijuana, Atlas and Tigres UANL). He guided Atlas to the Apertura 2021 title, its first championship since 1951 before winning the 2022 Clausura campaign.

MEXICO ROSTER

Manager Diego Cocca summoned 23 players for the match, with all but two from LIGA MX. With former U.S. youth international and once-capped USMNT defender Julián Araujo (Barcelona B) and attacker Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy) the only foreign-based players on the squad.

Defender Jesús Gallardo, one of two players who perform for first-place Monterrey, is the most experienced player with 82 international appearances. Next in line is the oldest player on the squad, Club America's 31-year-old defender Nestor Araujo, who has appeared 64 times.

Cruz Azul midfielder Uriel Antuna is the leading goal-scorer with nine tallies in 40 matches.

Carlos Acevedo is the most experienced goalkeeper with five caps, while Luis Malagon and Jose Antonio Rodriguez have yet to appear in an international match.

Pachuca led all clubs with four selections, with Club América and Guadalajara following behind with three, followed by Santos Laguna, Monterrey, Cruz Azul and Atlas with two apiece.

MEXICO ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUBS/COUNTRY)

GOALKEEPERS (3): Carlos Acevedo (Santos Laguna; 5/0), Luis Malagón (Club América; 0/0), José Antonio Rodriguez (Tijuana; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Kevin Álvarez (Pachuca; 11/), Julián Araujo (Barcelona B/ESP; 5/0), Néstor Araujo (Club América; 64/3), Omar Campos (Santos Laguna; 0/0), Jesús Gallardo (Monterrey; 82/1), Victor Guzmán (Monterrey; 0/0), Israel Reyes (Club América; 4/1) Gilberto Sepúlveda (Guadalajara; 5/0),

MIDFIELDERS (10): Efrain Alvarez (LA Galaxy; 4/0), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul; 40/9), Fernando Beltrán (Guadalajara; 10/0), Alan Cervantes (Santos Laguna; 4/0), Luis Chávez (Pachuca; 13/1), Ozziel Herrera (Atlas; 0/0), Aldo Rocha (Atlas; 0/0), Carlos Rodríguez (Cruz Azul; 39/0), Érick Sánchez (Pachuca; 9/1), Alexis Vega (Guadalajara; 25/6),

FORWARDS (2): Roberto de la Rosa (Pachuca; 0/0), Edgar Iván López (Toluca; 0/0)