3 years, 11 months, 8 days ago. AKA July 7, 2019. That was the last time Mexico defeated Team USA in an official football match. It was the 2019 Gold Cup final that Mexico won by a 1-0 score thanks to a Jonathan Dos Santos left-footed strike on the edge of the penalty area that just nicked the crossbar, impossible to reach for then keeper Zack Steffen. It’s worth noting they played a friendly a couple months later that Mexico won easily. But since that friendly, these two have met five times, and none have gone El Tri’s way.
Starting in June 2021, they met for the CONCACAF Nations League final; a couple months later for the Gold Cup final; followed by their two CONCACAF WC qualifier meetings; and to add insult to injury, a friendly match in April. The first three were straight up losses followed by two draws. To make the story short, USA have had Mexico’s number over the past two years.
To be fair, this isn’t the crux of Mexico’s issues. Not even close. Apart from their constant failures against their northern rivals, El Tri have carried an array of bad results and playing form dating back to the WC qualifiers while heading in a clear downward spiral since, all the way up to their Qatar 2022 World Cup failure.
To add to that, the way Diego Cocca was extirpated from Tigres to join the Mexican NT was one of the worst possible ways one can go about such a thing. And the start to his tenure hasn’t been as ideal either. In the misdt of turmoil caused from both the WC elimination and bad hiring practices, Cocca debuted with a 0-2 subpar road victory over Suriname, and followed it up with a 2-2 draw in the Azteca against Jamaica. Both were part of the CONCACAF Nations League. Then came the friendlies; a 1-1 draw with USA, 2-0 win over Guatemala, and a lucky 2-2 draw with Cameroon which would’ve been a loss had the African defender not been overconfident with the ball in stoppage time. So, not a hot start to say the least.
Team USA on the other hand have yet another coaching debut tonight, the second of the year in interim head coach B.J. Callaghan, who was appointed a couple weeks ago with then interim Anthony Hudson’s exit in favor of other coaching opportunities. Callaghan will coach through both the Nations League and Gold Cup, with a permanent HC expected to be announced soon after.
In terms of notable absentees for today’s game, Sebastián Córdova and Alexis Vega are in doubt for Mexico tonight. For Team USA, it’s a little more dire than that. Captain and MF Tyler Adams (Leeds United) is out after having surgery due to a sustained injury in March. CB Tim Ream (Fulham) is also out with a broken arm he sustained against Manchester City a few weeks ago.
Whether Mexico can capitalize on USA’s weakened squad remains to be seen, but if they don’t come away with the victory tonight, tensions will be high as ever with rumors already circulating that Cocca could soon be out if he doesn’t garner silverware this summer. As asinine as that may sound, you never know with the FMF front office circus.
MATCHUP: Mexico vs. USA
DATE: Thursday, June 15, 2023
TIME: 7 pm PT | 9 pm CT | 10 pm ET (8 pm Mexico CT)
VENUE: Allegiant Stadium | Paradise, Nevada
TV: US - Univision, Paramount+ | Mexico - Azteca 7 (Azteca Deportes), Canal 5, TUDN