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Young USMNT ready for first taste of Mexico rivalry


The U.S. Men’s National Team has five international soccer powers left on its fall schedule, but Tuesday’s foe is the most important.

Tuesday’s game provides the young American team with an opportunity to measure itself against Concacaf rival Mexico.

While the other friendlies against South American and European opponents will help develop the squad further, Mexico is the USMNT’s direct competition to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Only six of the 22 players on the USMNT roster for Tuesday’s game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville have experience against Mexico, with DeAndre Yedlin, Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes the only ones with multiple caps against El Tri.

While the names on the field might not be the ones we see at the 2019 Gold Cup or during World Cup qualifying, it gives the core of the young USMNT like Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Timothy Weah a chance to experience the rivalry firsthand before the competitive contests.

“As far as playing Mexico, a lot of it does speak for itself,” Sarachan said. “These are young guys that don’t have the background that I have with my experience playing Mexico. For me, it’s always been kind of personal, the rivalry, and I don’t mean it in a mean way.”

“That’s the way it is. For a lot of those young guys, they don’t have that experience yet, although many of them have played at the youth levels against Mexico,” Sarachan said. “We always say that the USA-Mexico teams in our region are the standard. I think these players understand the significance.”

USMNT interim head coach Dave Sarachan told reporters on Tuesday that four to six changes will be made from Friday’s 2-0 loss to Brazil.

Two of them are known at this time, as John Brooks and Paul Arriola departed camp to return to their respective club sides.

Cameron Carter-Vickers, Timothy Weah and others should rotate into the squad to combine with the likes of Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie likely to remain the lineup in order to give the USMNT as much attacking punch as possible.

In addition to handing out opportunities to new players in the squad, the USMNT is in need of a result since its only victories since the failure to qualify for the World Cup have come against Paraguay and Bolivia.

Seven goals in seven games under Sarachan isn’t good enough, and there’s concerns about the ability of each of the three forwards on the roster to find the back of the net on the international level.

Bobby Wood isn’t in great form at the moment and Gyasi Zardes has only shown flashes of brilliance with the USMNT, while Andrija Novakovich is still a wild-card after scoring in the Dutch second division.

“I think it’s extremely important for players to take advantage of the opportunity if their names are called to start the game,” Zardes said. “I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for players in camp just to give it their all and show that they belong here as well. I think it’s going to be a great matchup against Mexico too.” 

The other storyline hovering over Tuesday’s game is the presence of Jonathan Gonzalez on the Mexico roster.

The former U.S. youth international made a controversial switch to Mexico last year, and although the decision has been put in the past by the USMNT staff, it still lingers as a decision that could potentially affect both nations for years.

“Honestly I hadn’t thought about that in months,” Sarachan said. “We covered that back in the day when all this came up. There were conversations and at the end of the day this was the decision he had to make. He had a pretty good understanding of weighing out his options.”

Even though you can conjure up a decent amount of excitement for Tuesday’s game because of a few different factors, it still doesn’t pack the punch a normal US-Mexico game usually does.

But the USMNT is hoping Tuesday serves as a proper introduction to the rivalry to prepare for the more meaningful clashes in the future.

“You have a lot of supporters for both countries,” Zardes said. “I grew up in Los Angeles and there are a lot of Mexicans there and I have a lot of Mexican friends. Every time the US plays Mexico, it’s a huge game considering Mexico is right next door. That’s my mentality going through it. It’s one of the biggest games of the year.” 


  1. A singular obsession with beating Mexico is a result of being small-time with limited ambitions in international soccer. Upsetting Mexico has been the be all as realistically, US fans have known that and/or a Gold Cup has traditionally been the zenith of our abilities. Of course you want, you try to win every time you step on the field, but… it is time to strive for more. Think bigger, more long term, put player/team development over winning a meaningless friendly.

    • Part of developing players is putting them in high pressure situations. This game means nothing from a competitive standpoint, but it’s stature as a rivalry game that carries more weight than a normal friendly makes for a good test for the players. It would probably less beneficial for player development if this game were approached as anything less than an opportunity to beat Mexico.

    • Lets not act like the US has more of a hard on to beat Mexico than they do to beat the US, its equal hate by both countries. That being said, i see the US as having more up and coming quality than EL Tri, so i expect them to start to pull away from the clutches of Mexico over the next few years!!

  2. Mexico ?? line-up vs Uruguay ??

    ——————————-Jimenez(9) ⚽ —————————–


    ————Gutierrez(15)————Dos Santos(6)—————–



    Raul Jimenez (OUT❌)
    Guillermo Ochoa (OUT❌ = ⚽⚽⚽)
    Érick Gutiérrez (OUT❌)
    Hirving Lozano (OUT❌)

    Oswaldo Alanís
    Hugo González
    José Abella
    Manuel Lajud
    Érick Aguirre
    Orbelín Pineda (OUT❌)
    Edson Álvarez
    Gerardo Arteaga

    Who will fill their shoes? Where is Chicharito,Carlos Vela, Héctor Herrera, Giovani dos Santos or Marco Fabián? ?


    • And Uruguay beat Mexico (4 to 1) BUT…..

      MEXICO ?? —————–URUGUAY ??


      12 ——————-Shots ——————-15

      7——————Shots on Goal————-7

      Hmmmmmm……nobody to put the ball in the back of the Net for Mexico?? Did the 4-3-3 formation (used by Uruguay) make the difference in Goals ⚽⚽⚽⚽?? INTERESTING ?

  3. joe, our region, concacaf, gets 3.5 world cup berths, yes? mexico and the usa CAN BOTH QUALIFY. we really don’t have to be rivals. we can be friends.

    • i think we’re entering a new age. i think days of the bitter rivalry between mexico and usa (oguchi onyewu/jared borgetti stare down, 2006) is turning into a normal rivalry. like if canada suddenly one day (and it could happen) became a threat to take away one of our regions 3.5 world cup berths, then when we would play canada, it would suddenly be serious (that would be cool, wouldn’t it!). but there would be no hate or anything. well i think the rivalry between the usa and mexico is becoming like that. it’s always serious but i think the hate factor is going away. in fact, i think the kids don’t feel any hate at all. and i love that. let’s keep it that way.

      • Canadian team is getting stronger. I am hockey fan and USA v Canada rivalry is awesome. Great respect but love kicking the crap out of each other. (And the USA is always the underdog). Hope that rivalry happens in soccer.

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