Mexico vs. USA: 5 Reasons Why El Tri Must Win the Friendly

Karla Villegas Gama@karlitsvFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2014

Mexico vs. USA: 5 Reasons Why El Tri Must Win the Friendly

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    It is no secret that Mexico and the United States have one of the longest and most ferocious rivalries in world football.

    No matter if it is a friendly, a World Cup qualifier or a Gold Cup match, any clash between the two CONCACAF heavyweights puts a lot at stake—from pride and honor to endurance and technique.

    Their next meeting will take place on April 2 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

    Let’s see why Mexico must win the friendly.

It's Miguel Herrera's First Clash Against Them

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    Miguel Herrera took over El Tri last year, just after the team barely made it to the two-legged playoff against New Zealand.

    Ever since, "El Piojo" has been in charge of the team in five games and has kept an undefeated record.

    However, the only team that supposed some threat was Nigeria, which in all fairness controlled most of the game, as Mexico struggled to keep up physically.

    The United States have proved to be in great shape lately. They will take out the best of El Tri and, as usual, will be a worthy rival.

    Herrera must be very careful when picking his starting XI because, as we have seen before, his 5-3-2 system can be harmful if the players get tired quickly.

The CONCACAF Champions and Libertadores Success Is No Accident

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    Two Mexican clubs are playing in the Copa Libertadores, and they have had great results so far.

    Leon have a 2-1-1 record, which has been enough to put them in the first spot of Group 7. Carlos Pena has not only contributed with one goal, but he keeps proving that he is one of the best Mexican midfielders. 

    Santos Laguna are undefeated; they have won three games and tied one. As expected, Oribe Peralta has been at his best and is the only Mexican on the top scorers' table.

    The CONCACAF Champions League has also been quite a success for the Liga MX clubs.

    Cruz Azul, Tijuana and Toluca qualified for the knockout stage as group leaders. The three of them faced MLS clubs and eliminated them.

    Yes, the players' fatigue could be a factor for the clash against the United States, but facing the archrival will only make them want to fight harder.

The Dos a Cero Chapter

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    Enough is enough: The United States have won the last four World Cup qualifiers held in Columbus by the same score of 2-0.

    So it is only natural that the fans rub the result in the Mexicans' faces every time they can by shouting "Dos a Cero."

    Playing on U.S. soil has been a dreadful and winding road for El Tri for a long time.

    The last time Mexico defeated them in an official match was at the 2011 Gold Cup final.

    In friendlies, things have not been good either. The last Mexican victory came on March 1999, when they faced off in San Diego.

    By the way, the last time they played in Glendale, El Tri lost 2-0 in 2007.

It Is a Great Opportunity to Try New Players

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    Since this is not a FIFA date, Miguel Herrera will have to play with footballers from the Liga MX, which means he has a great chance to try new members.

    The game against Nigeria proved that not all the players who could be considered as undisputed starters were at their best moment, physically speaking.

    It also cleared doubts regarding certain positions, like the right flank. Paul Aguilar has been the first choice, but he has faltered constantly; the same thing goes for Juan Carlos Medina in the center of the pitch.

    This game is key for Herrera because it will be the last one he has before the farewell at the Estadio Azteca against Israel. By that time, he will already have the European-based footballer at his disposition, and it will not be as easy to experiment.

The Lastest World Cup Qualifier

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    If the "Dos a Cero" chapter was not enough, now the Mexican fans need to live with the fact that their team got the ticket to the playoff against New Zealand thanks to the United States victory against Panama in the last matchday of the qualifying tournament.

    Until the 90+1’ minute, Los Canaleros were ahead in the score, and with Mexico losing 2-1 to Costa Rica, it meant that they would advance to the playoff. 

    However, a minute later Graham Zusi scored the equalizer, burying Panama’s hopes and doing El Tri the biggest favor in history.

    Next month’s game will be the first one between both teams since the World Cup qualifiers, so Mexico better start building confidence and getting back their hegemony.