The US Men’s National Team will face off against their rivals from the south in Mexico on Friday in their first meeting of this cycle’s World Cup Qualifiers. While Mexico sits at the top of the table and USA is just behind them in second place, this match could see a changing of the guard with a USA win. They’re just three points behind Mexico and just two behind in goal differential, so it’s very plausible that they could leapfrog them this week.
The USA has a long and storied history with Mexico dating all the way back to 1934 when they first met in World Cup Qualifiers. USA won that first match, but Mexico quickly took the lead in the all-time series and never looked back. As it stands, El Tri leads the series through all competitions with 36 wins and 21 losses while 15 have ended in draws.
After that initial World Cup qualifying meeting in 1934, the USMNT didn’t log another win in World Cup play until 1980 when they finally topped the Mexican side 2-1. It would be another 21 years before they won again in WCQ play in 2001, but to be fair there were only two meetings between the sides in qualifying play between those two wins, and they both ended in draws.
Overall, USA has only won seven World Cup Qualifying contests against Mexico, while losing 16 of them and drawing seven. Mexico seemed to have the USA’s number for quite a while, but it’s been a little more balanced in the modern era overall. The last time these sides met was in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final on August 1 when the USMNT grabbed a late goal in extra time to secure the 1-0 victory. USA also downed them 3-2 in the CONCACAF Nations League Final back in June, making their record against El Tri in 2021 a perfect 2-0-0.
Now they’ll go head-to-head in an important WCQ match where the USA will look to extend their record to three straight wins over the Mexican side. It won’t be easy as Mexico has been dominant throughout the first half of this final World Cup Qualifying round. It makes head coach Gregg Berhalter’s job a little tougher as they look to jump ahead of their CONCACAF rivals.