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Monday Morning Center Back: What does the USA-Mexico rivalry mean today?


Good morning all. I’m heading to the airport for my trip to Houston for USA-Mexico and as I’m driving I couldn’t help but wonder what you think of the rivalry at this point.

We all know about the U.S. national team’s dominance of Mexico in recent years. My question is a simple one. What does the rivalry mean to you now? Is it still as meaningful? Are the games still as exciting? Do you still get worked up thinking about the next match-up?

For me, the matches are still great to attend. This week’s match will mark my seventh of the past eight (I didn’t go to the U.S. team’s 1-0 win in 2004 when Jonny Walker started and Eddie Pope scored the winner). Every one of them had a great level of excitement, be it World Cup or friendly.

So maybe the question might seem silly but ultimately I want to hear from you what the rivalry means to you now.

(As an aside, I need someone who has an RSS feed to SBI to email me the post "My take on the US roster vs. Mexico." For those of you who missed it, some folks wound up hijacking the comments section of the post. In my efforts to remove all the unrelated comments I deleted the post itself. Someone please email the RSS text of that post to and I will get it back up so the folks who missed it this weekend can chime in.)

Now it is your turn. Tell us what the USA-Mexico rivalry means to you today:


  1. Many say Mexicans dont respect the US, but did the US respect Mexico when they were head of a group in the Wrold Cup 06??? The worst thing is that the Coach and players were in the middle of it all.

  2. I could write a book about what this rivalry means. Seriously.

    Personally, I grew up in Houston and now live in San Diego and all my life have played soccer with Mexicans. It is almost guaranteed that they automatically think they are better players simply because they are Mexican. And they don’t like the fact that an American can play on equal (or better) footing with them. I see the exact same phenomemon at the National Team level. Superiority complex?

  3. As far as where the rivalry ranks for me personally, that’s being put to the test, scheduled, cruelly, at exactly the same time as the sacred Duke – UNC hoops showdown (the first of 2). Who says you can’t love to play your arch rival twice a year?

    But, I completely support the US playing other top teams as well, and can’t fathom why we don’t play England. Why would this not happen this year especially, it’s not like England is doing anything this summer.

  4. I have to say, I love the rivalry…I live in California, and have Mexican friends, and I love to tease them about these games. However, it should also be said, that I pull for Mexico against most other nations in the world, and I know a lot of other USA fans that do the same. I am not sure that this is the majority view. But if you play adult soccer, whether league or pickup, you are going to play alongside and against Mexicans, and develop friendships and respect (and rivalries and enemies, but that’s sports). We may be the 2 rivals on the block, but hey, its OUR block, and we are in this together.

  5. ANDREW asks: “What happened with that other hijacked post? I missed it, what was the argument, John E?”

    IVES says: “And I swear if anybody revisits the Adu [age] debate I will start banning people from this site… [J]ust let it go. It’s a pointless discussion.”

    There’s your answer, Andrew. And, whatever the merits of the discussion, I do agree with Ives that it’s a pointless discussion on this thread (and pretty much all others). So I am indeed letting it go.


    Again on the rivalry: I think I disagree with the view that the frequency of the games diminishes the rivalry’s intensity. Rivalries require a delicate balance between regularity and rarity–too often and they’re boring, too infrequently and the games become isolated games rather than part of an ongoing competition. The current frequency seems about right to me.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind the USSF another ongoing competition that might evolve into a rivalry. Looking back, I wish that after WC 2002 the USSF had tried (or had succeeded?) in scheduling an annual friendly against Germany, Portugal, or even South Korea. Something like that could have grown into something. Maybe the friendly with Spain… (Probably too much to hope, I know.)

  6. To me it’s still a big rivalry, but its watered down to an extent with the frequency of games lately. If this was WCQ or something like that, I’d probably be more psyched about this.

  7. while it will never be boring, i do think these games need to be played a little less frequently, in order to maintain the same excitement that it once had.

    i also think this is especially so now that the USSF is scheduling more difficult friendlies, so we don’t need to rely on Mexico for a challenging friendly.

  8. Here’s what this rivalry means: If either the US or Mexico ever wins the World Cup it will be in some part due to this rivalry spur each team on to greater heights. Mexico has clearly responded to the US’s recent dominance by becoming less insular, with more players playing abroad than ever before. For the US, Mexico was our first measuring stick as we began to climb up on the world stage.

    Soccer fans in each country owe the other an enormous debt of gratitude.

  9. To me there is nothing better than a regional rivalry. Be it England-France, Brazil-Argentina, Japan-South Korea. It doesn’t get better than that. I’m excited to see the newer faces in the team (Altidore, Adu, Bradley, Edu) play on the big stage against the most important rival in US soccer history. Who can deny the passion associated with this game? For me it’s a nail-biter every time and such a rush when we beat them! Hopefully we can pull it off again. USA USA USA!!!

  10. There is no bigger game for our NT than a game vs. Mexico. The U.S. has told Mexico that they’re our little brother in everything. The only thing Mexico can say they have over the U.S. is soccer. Well, I guess they COULD say that in the past. We’ve moved ahead of them and we’re calling them “little brother” in soccer too.

    The funny thing is the Mexican side is ranked higher than the U.S. and they played very well at the Copa Sudamerica tourney. I know rankings mean squat and we sent our B team to South America, but still.

    We need to maintain our dominance over Mexico in what will amount to a home match for the Mexican side. We’re not playing in Columbus.

    There is no bigger game (outside a World Cup match) than a match vs Mexico. There are NO friendlies.

    USA! Ole Ole Ole! USA!

  11. I agree with some other posters, that I like playing Mexico, because of the rivalry, but would like to see the U.S. play other S. American quality opponents, instead of Mexico all the time.

    As far as Mexico, it bothers me a great deal their lack of sportsmanship during (and after) these games. You can have a rivalry, but in a respectful way. I hope that a team from CONCACAF (U.S. I hope!) wins the world cup, but if the U.S. was knocked out of the competition, and Mexico was still in it, I would root for Mexico. I look at it, like brothers: there’s noone you’d rather beat, but when they’re playing someone else, you root for them.

  12. It is great to see the US play againts Mexico, but I would like to see the US play other teams as well. Would also be nice to have the US play Mexico in Mexico and US winning in the Azteca. Go USA! Should be fun because there are a lot of young players from both teams, Adu, Edu, Altidore for US and Guardado, Ochoa, and DosSantos from Mexico.

  13. Come on guys, I was at a rest stop posting, not actually driving and writing (and I just got to the airport).

    And I swear if anybody revisits the Adu debate I will start banning people from this site. Okay, so maybe I won’t ban people but just let it go. It’s a pointless discussion.

  14. I’m a fan but I definitely would like to see us branch out and take on other opponents. I’d like to take on England and show Capello the true strength of our American players.

  15. To me at this stage it’s no big deal, because for us it really hasn’t translated to other victories. I’m not one for if we lose x number of games but beat Mexico all is right in the world.

  16. I’m a very new fan, and this rivalry really gets me pumped. I cant compare it to the past, but it seems to be our only real international rivalry. The Good South American teams (or for that matter other good teams in the world) dont take us seriously, and beating up on small Carribean island nations can not be considered a rivalry, so this is it for us.

    I think Yankees – Redsox is unique, and hopefully we dont everm develop the hatred between nations that those two sets of fans have for each, but this is as close as it gets for US Soccer

  17. I think the non-CANCACAF claim against us is a valid one.

    So, we have Mexico’s number – it only serves as a benchmark because the real test is against non-CONCACAF opponents. The benchmark is we have gotten better and still have the challenge of defeating them in a “no-oxygen” environment to prove ourselves completely.

    But the ultimate benchmark is when we start defeating the top 10 countries consistently and with their 1st teams. Mexico only serves as a benchmark to that path.

    Can our team compete with what Hugo will put on the field? Yes, I they can, even it is just MLS players.

    The real challenge are games like the Copa America. Mexico is better than us in those tournaments.

  18. First, I have to agree with Bill. Hopefully, there’ll be another post later on from Ives today to let us know that this whole driving while blogging (DWB?) thing worked out OK.

    But for me, this game is especially significant as it will be the first USMNT game I’ve actually attended. Playing Mexico is a huge, huge deal especially since the Mexicans refuse to give the US any run at all. They consistently claim to be the superior team and then consistently get beat. So it’s fun to keep beating them for that reason. (kpugs, can you imagine how much more fun it would have been to beat Boston all of those pre-1984 years if the Bosox had constantly whined and whined about being the better team? Maybe they did do that for all I know.)

    Also, as a yardstick, if CONCACAF is ever to get farther into the World Cup, the two best teams in the region need to keep playing each other to measure themselves against quality opposition. I mean, who (other than maybe Canada?) can even stand up to these two big boys right now in CONCACAF? So if they don’t play each other regularly, they each miss out on a great chance to get better.

  19. to defend el tri’s hollow claim as “El gigante de la Concacaf,” many note mexico’s better record vs. non-Concacaf opponents.

    I believe many of these teams take Mexico lightly, figuring that even the gigante of Concacaf should easily fall to them. if any of them prepared by watching usa-Mexico tapes,they would see how easy it is to beat El tri 😉

  20. Hi, Ives.

    I assume I’m one of the people you consider to have hijacked the missing post. I’m sorry for that. I knew I should have let it go, but for various reasons that I won’t go into (because it would constitute another threadjack) I find the particular allegations I was responding not just illogical but offensive, and I (probably stupidly) felt obliged to respond. So, sorry to you and everyone else.

    As for the rivalry–and I’m sure this will strike some as ironic–I really enjoy it but I wish there weren’t so much jingoism associated with it. As the folks at Sideline Views have been tracking, some parts of the Mexican media have been, ahem, careless with the truth in order to stir up controversy, and on a lot of US boards posters are doing the same thing. I think a lot of this comes from non-soccer factors (racial, political, etc.), and I know that those factors give the rivalry a lot of its charge. So it’s naive of me to wish that they wouldn’t be such a prominent part of the pre-match hype. But I wish it anyway.

  21. In case my avatar doesn’t say it all … pls note that I give my email address as “”

    This is our clasico, our derby. It’s never a friendly.

  22. I think it’s likely to always be a pretty fierce rivalry, since both teams will always be the two heavy hitters in CONCACAF. At this point, much of my fire comes from the fact that the Mexicans simply will not give us any respect and tend to treat us with disdain. So until a handshake comes at the end of a game with a “well done”, I can’t see this rivalry ending anytime soon. What’s most amazing is that I would have thought this was just a handful of Mexicans, but I have yet to meet a Mexican who doesn’t immediately say they are a far better team and the US has been incredibly lucky. If it’s luck, I want some! It will be sad to see them be the first Mexican side to not win a game during qualifying against the US. Oh! Sad for them, not me!! Still, I look forward to the day when our real rivals are the top 8 teams in the world.

    Btw, other great rivalries in US sports history? How about Russia/US b-ball in the 60s/70s? How about Canada/US hockey (yes, I know, they kick our butts, but the intensity is still there!).

  23. This is very easy for me to put into words. I’m a lifelong Yankees fan. And the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry has NOTHING on USA vs. Mexico. It’s just that simple.

  24. Ask folks outside CONCACAF to name the best team in our confederation and the answer will be Mexico. USA’s head-to-head dominance in the last few years notwithstanding, MEX performs better on the world stage and ranks higher. To me, any USAvMEX match is an opportunity to continue to beat the drum that USA is now the strongest team in CONCACAF and is continuing to emerge on the world stage.

  25. I’m getting kinda pumped for it, especially if Altidore and Adu get significant playing time. But mostly I’m wondering how Ives sends this post while he’s driving to the airport.

  26. As a pretty new fan, I get very excited for U.S./Mexico games. I think it’s pretty amazing how heated things get on the field. The players are so amped up, the crowd is great (though it’s so Pro-Mexico!) and usually the games are of high quality. This past summer’s Gold Cup Final was one of the greatest matches of the year from anywhere around the world. People can continue to talk down about CONCACAF, but USA/Mexico provides some great, passionate soccer.

  27. another USA-MEX friendly? Boring! Can’t they put together a friendly with any one of the other talented sides in the Americas. Doesn’t have to be Brazil or Argentina, but any sort of new match up would be nice.

  28. This isnt quite OSU-Michigan (im from columbus) but on a national level I cant think of any rivalry the US has had other than the cold war that approaches this, especially now. Throw in the political baggage of illegal immigration, the dirty play and shit talk from both sides and the teams generally not liking each other and this is huge. Why shouldnt we play our biggest rival every year?

  29. Well, I have to say that I’m becoming more and more interested in these MNT friendlies, whether it be vs. Mexico or anyone else.

    However, with Dos Santos and Vela playing for them and Adu and Altidore playing for us, it makes the game that much more exciting. Friendly, Gold Cup, or World Cup, the game is extremely exciting and almost always a nailbiter, but with the new generation of players coming in, it makes it that much greater. It’ll be nice when Adu and Altidore are mainstays in the starting lineup, but for now, I’ll take the excitement of their creativity being involved in any way, shape, or form.

    Definitely looking forward to it. Even more so b/c it’s in HD. And I don’t get to see a lot of soccer in HD.

  30. Since the US v MX friendlies seem to be an annual thing, it is not as easy to get pumped up for it. But once the whistle blows, the passion will return for my favorite rivalary in all of sports. Playing Mexico is a great measuring stick, I just wish we had a few others with some regularity.

  31. Hmm.. well, I live in Ohio. So, I equate it in a sense to the OSU/Michigan rivalry.
    2 teams that slug it out.

    Although, the USMNT plays its matches so few and far between, I get giddy everytime they play.


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