Five Things to Know about Mexico

Two-time defending champion USMNT meets Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League finals in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, March 24 (9:15 p.m. ET, Paramount+ and Univision)
By: Michael Lewis

For the second time in three Concacaf Nations League tournaments, the U.S. Men's National Team will meet Mexico, this time in the championship match at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday, March 24 at 9:15 p.m. (Paramount+, Univision). The two teams previously met in the 2021 final and in the 2023 semifinals.

The two-time CNL defending champion USA booked a spot in the championship game with a 3-1 comeback win over Jamaica in extra time in Arlington on Thursday night. Second-half substitute Haji Wright tallied twice after an own goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time kept the Americans alive.

In the second game of the doubleheader, El Tri recorded a 3-0 victory over Panama.

The Americans will try to extend their unbeaten streak against El Tri to seven games, having last lost to their rivals in 2019.

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


Mexico has been one of the strongest teams in the region, qualifying for the past eight FIFA World Cups and 16 overall. El Trí participated in the first World Cup in Uruguay in 1930, in which there was no qualifying. They finished 13th and last with a 0-3-0 record.

El Tri has performed in the FIFA World Cup 17 times, reaching the quarterfinals when it hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986. The North American side failed to qualify three times while being banned from the 1990 FIFA World Cup when it used an ineligible player in qualification for the Under-20 World Cup.

The Mexicans have also captured the Concacaf Gold Cup a record nine times (1993, 1996, 1998 2003, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2019, 2023).

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

In 2012, the Mexicans made history, becoming the first Concacaf country to win an Olympic soccer gold medal, which came at the London Summer Games when they bested Brazil in the final at Wembley Stadium.

Javier (Chichatrito) Hernandez, who plays with Guadalajara (Liga MX) is the all-time leading goal-scorer (52 in 109 matches).


The first time these two rivals met, the USMNT prevailed in a one-match, winner-take-all qualifier in Rome, Italy only days prior to the start of the 1934 FIFA World Cup. Aldo “Buff” Donelli scored four times for the USA in 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, 36-23-17. The Americans, however, enter the match with a six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2) against their archrivals, having last tasted 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 CNL 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 PK four minutes into stoppage time in the second extra time.

They continued it with a 1-0 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 Mexicans 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).

They frustrated El Tri at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City in another WCQ match via a scoreless draw on March 22, 2022.

On April 19, 2023, the archrivals battled to a 1-1 draw in Glendale, Ariz. After El Tri took the lead on Uriel Antuna's 55th-minute goal before Jesus Ferreira countered with the equalizer in the 81st minute.

In the 2023 CNL semifinal in Las Vegas on June 15, the USA rolled to a 3-0 triumph. Pulisic scored on either side of halftime (37th and 46th minutes) and Ricardo Pepi buried a 78th-minute goal.


The Mexicans needed to win a shootout against Honduras to reach the CNL final four.

In the first leg of the quarterfinals on Nov. 17, 2023, Honduras blanked Mexico, 2-0, in Tegucigalpa. Four days later in Mexico City, El Tri leveled the series with a 2-0 win behind goals by Luis Chavez (11th minute) and Edson Alvarez (11 minutes into second-half stoppage time).

Mexico won the shootout, 4-2. Johan Vasquez, Santiago Gimenez, Orbelin Pineda and Cesar Huerta converted their shots. Huerta was given three chances to take his penalty after Honduran goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar came off his line twice. Mexican keeper Luis Malagon saved Bryan Roches' attempt, and Honduran Andy Najar missed his PK in the tie-breaker.

In their only game since then, the Mexicans dropped a 3-2 friendly loss to Colombia at the LA Coliseum on Dec. 16, 2023.

Omar Govea (40th minute) and Guillermo Martinez (50th) had given El Tri a two-goal advantage, but Colombia rallied behind goals from New York Red Bulls defender Andres Reyes (55th), Robert Martinez (69th) and Andre Gomez (two minutes into injury time).

This past Thursday, the Mexicans recorded a 3-0 CNL semifinal triumph past Panama at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Edson Alvarez (40th minute), Julian Quinones (44th) and Orbelín Pineda (66th) were the goalscorers.


A former Mexican international midfielder, Jaime Lozano was named head coach on Aug. 10, 2023, after guiding El Tri to the Concacaf Gold Cup title as interim coach. He had taken over the reins on a temporary basis, replacing the fired Diego Cocca, after Mexico finished third in the 2023 CNL.

Lozano, 45, played for UNAM Pumas, Celaya, Tigres UANL, Cruz Azul and Morelia in a professional career that spanned from 1998-2013.

He represented Mexico 34 times from 2000-07, scoring 12 goals.

Lozano started his coaching career with the UNAM Academy in 2014, joining its Queretaro counterparts the next year, becoming the senior side's assistant coach in 2016, and head coach a year later.

After guiding Queretaro to the 2017 Supercopa MX title, Lozano was fired several months later after the team fell into last place. He took over as Mexican Under-23 coach, directing the team to the bronze medal after defeating Japan at the 2020 delayed Summer Olympics. He coached Necaxa before mutually parting ways with the club in 2022.

Mexico is 8-3-3 under Lozano.


Manager Jaime Lozano selected a 23-man roster that was dominated by 13 players who compete domestically in Liga MX.

Clausura leader Monterrey (8-0-1, 25 points), which has allowed only eight goals in the league, placed four players on the team. That includes three veteran defenders - Jesus Gallardo, Gerardo Arteaga and Erick Aguirre. Midfielder Luis Romo is the fourth player.

Second-place Club America (7-1-4, 25) has three players on the squad, including forwards Henry Martin (nine goals in 42 matches) and Julian Quinones. Goalkeeper Luis Malagon is the third America representative.

Captain and ‘keeper Guillermo Ochoa, 38, is the oldest and most experienced player (149 international matches). He has more caps than any Mexican goalie in history and is third overall on El Tri’s all-time list. Jesus Gallardo, who can play as a defender or on the wing, is the most capped field player (97).

Striker Hirving Lozano has scored the most goals (18 in 69 appearances). Lozano, who has tallied five goals in 18 matches for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch Eredivisie is a teammate of USMNT players Sergino Dest, Malik Tillman and Ricardo Pepi.

Uriel Antuna, a 26-year-old forward who performs for Cruz Azul, is next with 13 goals in 58 matches, followed by AEK Athens midfielder Orbelin Pineda, 27, who has 10 goals in 67 games.

Goalkeeper Julio Gonzalez is the lone player without a cap.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Luis Malagon (Club America; 4/0), Guillermo Ochoa (Salernitana/ITA; 149/0), Julio Gonzalez (Pumas; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Johan Vasquez (Genoa/ITA; 21/1), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey; 97/2), Cesar Montes (Almeria/ESP; 43/1), Gerardo Arteaga (Monterrey; 21/0), Julian Araujo (Las Palmas/ESP; 13/0), Jorge Sanchez (FC Porto; POR; 40/1), Jesus Orozco (Guadalajara; 3/0), Erick Aguirre (Monterrey; 15/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Edson Alvarez (West Ham United/ENG; 75/5), Luis Chavez (Dinamo Moscow/RUS; 29/4), Roberto Alvarado (Guadalajara; 43/5), Luis Romo (Monterrey; 43/3), Orbelín Pineda (AEK Athens/GRE; 67/10), Erick Sanchez (Pachuca; 26/3), Carlos Rodriguez (Cruz Azul; 48/0)

FORWARDS (5): Henry Martín (Club America; 42/9), Julian Quinones (Club America; 3/1), Santiago Gimenez (Feyenoord/NED; 24/4), Hirving Lozano (PSV Eindhoven/NED; 69/18), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul; 58/13)