Mexico has announced a friendly against Ecuador to be played on October 27th in Charlotte, North Carolina. The match will be the fifth friendly of 2021 to be played in the United States, completing the SUM contract of five matches per year. It will be played on a non-FIFA date, which means that both sides will only have players from their local leagues and maybe MLS, and only if they get permission from their club. Both teams will also be in the middle of their World Cup qualifying campaign. Mexico and Ecuador last faced each other in a friendly prior to the 2019 Gold Cup, with Mexico having current coach Gerardo Martino already. It was an exciting match that Mexico won 3-2, with the winning goal being the first national team goal by Luis Rodriguez.
This match will also marks the return of the non-FIFA date friendlies. While these matches have been demonized in many corners of Mexican football, the fact that they are friendlies could help the National Team a lot, especially in the middle of World Cup qualifiers. The game against Ecuador will be the only window for Martino to experiment and bring in young players or Liga MX players with no experience. Players like David Ochoa and Julian Araujo, who recently switched from playing for the United States, could make their debut as well as other interesting Liga MX players like Santiago Gimenez and Alejandro Zendejas, who might not otherwise get playing time because of their inexperience and it being the high-stakes World Cup Qualifiers. Martino though might just use the match to test the Liga MX players from the World Cup campaign and experiment, something that will not happen in the tough qualifiers where the result is the most important. The fact that after the match Mexico will be facing the expected toughest matchup in the qualifiers, away to the United States, might make that the strongest possibility for what will Martino do. Either way, it will be a very important match for a non-FIFA date and prove to the usefulness of these types of matches for the National Team.