USMNT vs Mexico

USA vs Mexico on TV (USMNT vs El Tri) at 9pm  EST Sunday June 6th (6/6/21) will again be on:

CBS Sports Network, Paramount Plus, Univision, TUDN

USMNT vs Mexico, for some fans their blood turns cold or boils at just the mention of the match up. Memories of enormous victories, crushing defeats, vicious tackles, unconquerable foes, dos a cero, bags of urine raining down, Ohio, Azteca. This is a rivalry that will continue to live in the hearts and minds of US soccer fans for years and generations as the two titans of CONCACAF battle and duke it out for global football relevance.

In 1934 the USMNT vs Mexico rivalry was born. The two sides met and the US were able to win 4-2. It would be 46 years later before the US could best El Tri again.  As Joel Embiid said of the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, “this is not a rivalry”. That 1980 victory however sparked a new generation of soccer in the US. The national team, along with the game, coaching, development and interest has grown steadily.

These two teams have often been tied together, their matches often been the key ones since 1980 game in CONCACAF qualifying, it has often been the measuring stick of where each side was. US has led the rivalry since that game going 17-12-16 in that time, with various generations claiming ownership of the other for North American dominance. Both countries driving their leagues forward on the world map and pushing to have their top players compete at the highest levels. Historic players often measuring themselves by their role in key games against their rivals. Some for big goals or winning games, other for different memorable moments. There are many USMNT fans who rank Donovan ahead of Dempsey purely for his goals against their rivals. Others who rank Dempsey ahead of Donovan due to Donovan famously wearing a Mexico scarf after retiring.

Charlie Davies often shares of his experience at the Azteca when he scored his goal in 2009 for the first ever lead in Mexico. Davies details his fantastic career including his experience on an incredible interview last year with Hérculez Gómez

Michael Bradley scored a wonder goal which may have changes some fans view of him when they drew at Azteca 1-1 in 2017 qualifying.

Several key victories will reign in many US fans minds, many pointing to the 2009 or 2013 USA 2-0 victories over Mexico, the famous “dos a cero” score line in Columbus, OH. Some going back as far as the 2001 2-0 victory, also in Columbus a now famous stadium for the rivalry match up.  

The USMNT has had had historic rises of late, but it’s been a multi-decade drive forward for the sport’s popularity. USWNT’s incredible World Cup victory in 1999 and their multi-decade dominance and popularity have only shown a more painful light on the men’s struggles. That made most painful in their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, losing to Trinidad and Tobago on that fateful night. A night they needed their bitter rivals to bail them out with a victory over lowly Hondurus, a victory that would not come.

The next generation of USMNT players knows the rivalry well and has shared of it’s importance to them. Even at the youth levels. Chris Richards in an interview on Underdog Soccer Podcast shared after their U20 victory his views on the rivalry and its importance even at the youth ranks.

The Olympic loss last night was heart breaking. The team should have performed better and didn’t get it done. It robbed the youth team of another tournament to develop together and get international experience playing. It also robbed us of the USMNT vs Mexico final that many of were looking forward to. 

The fan intensity is rising as Mexico, currently ranked 9th in FIFA World Rankings just lost to Wales. US fans will certainly hear about our Olympic Qualifying loss to Hondurus for some time and have concern about its impact on capturing young dual national players’ hearts. The dual national battle heats up as we heard the boos reign down for our stud young keeper David Ochoa. Many eyes are on him and many other dual nationals including Nico Carrera, Tony Leone, Johan and Jonathan Gómez and many more young stars who will have decisions to make about their future national team.  Dual national fans are often torn, Beto Lopez, shared his experience on Scuffed podcast of being Mexican-American and choosing to follow USMNT passionately. Beto is a contributor to helping us translate our top 50 players into Spanish to show our own support to bi-lingual fans and dual nationals. I especially enjoyed hearing his speak about his experiences with his father. An experience I have shared as a dual national myself, even yesterday while visiting my parents for my son’s Spring Break. The USMNT senior team was playing Northern Ireland and my mother entered and looked at the TV. She said – Ireland’s playing, oh wait Northern Ireland, why are they wearing our green? That’s not right, how are they allowed to wear that – go USA! 

Fans from both groups are often watching top Americans and top Mexican players in Europe and following their success or struggles. Christian Pulisic and Raul Jiménez are often measured, compared and spoken of with vicious retorts at every turn of their career. Gio Reyna and Diego Lainez every moment and touch key measuring sticks for the future of their prospective teams in the bitter rivalry’s critical future.

The common language speaks of Mexico as currently superior and the US having the superior youth players of the future. The results in the rivalry, tournaments and World Cup ahead will have the final say. The CONCACAF Champions League has been dominated by Liga MX with 2020 bringing an especially brutal turn in that story as LAFC fell painfully to Tigres. A rumored conversation about a potential merger between Liga MX and MLS on the horizon could add fire to the club rivalries. And of course we approach 2022 World Cup qualifying and even start to peak head to the 2026 dual hosted World Cup, tension rises. 

There are many fans that want to raise the bar higher. They want to start looking at France, Germany, Belgium and Portugal and set our sights on reaching the highest levels. There’s nothing wrong with that and something to be said for it. However, to get there we need to be the kings of CONCACAF. The opportunity is there for USMNT vs Mexico and our rivals to the south may play a key part in our players developing and competing at the highest levels. Both bitter rivals driving forward