The United States hasn’t fared well in Mexico, going 0-12-3 in qualifying since 1949, although those three draws have come on recent visits. The USMNT managed scoreless draws at the Estadio Azteca in 1997 and 2013 and a 1-1 result last time out in 2017.
Michael Bradley, then team captain, scored the only goal for the United States on a line shot 35 yards above the head of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in the sixth minute before Sorting equalized on Carlos Vela’s 23rd– countdown of minutes.
After suffering back-to-back defeats to the United States (2-0 on Nov. 12) and Canada (2-1 on Nov. 16), Mexico bounced back with an unbeaten record (2-0-1) in the winter window.
Sorting overcame a one-goal deficit to Jamaica with a late push as Henry Martin and Alexis Vega found the net in the 82nd and 83rd minutes, respectively, to record a 2-1 win on 27 January.
Three days later, they played Costa Rica to a goalless draw at home.
Mexico found their way back to winning ways at home on February 2 in a 1-0 win over Panama. Raul Jimenez converted an 80th-minute penalty to give the team three points.
After Thursday’s game, Mexico will play in Honduras on March 27 and complete the octagon at home against El Salvador on March 30.
The Federación Mexicana de Fútbol unveiled Gerardo “Tata” Martino as their new head coach on January 7, 2019, replacing interim manager Ricardo “Tuca” Ferreti. Since taking over Mexico, Martino has led El Tri to a record of 31-4-7, which includes guiding the team to the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup title, this year’s Nations League Final and the 2021 Gold Cup Final.
Martino, 59, has enjoyed great success throughout his coaching career which includes stops at the helm of the Paraguay and Argentina national teams on the international stage as well as Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina and of Barcelona at club level. Martino has guided his teams to second-place finishes in many of the sport’s most prestigious competitions, including the Copa Libertadores and La Liga at club level, as well as the Copa America and World Cup on the international stage.
Martino’s last stint before joining Mexico ended in success as he guided Atlanta United to the 2018 MLS Cup title in the team’s second season. The Argentine managed current USMNT players George Bello and Miles Robinson for two seasons in Atlanta.
Mexico have named a 29-man roster for their qualifying run but will play without several key players who are injured. This included longtime captain and midfielder Andres Guardado, striker Rogeli Funes Morio and defenders Julio Dominguez and Osvaldo Rodriguez.
El Tri will miss the leadership and experience of Guardado who is the nation’s second all-time winner with 173 appearances.
Yet six key players from European clubs are expected to play vital roles – defender Edson Alvarez, midfielder Héctor Herrera (Atletico Madrid) and forwards Raul Jimenez (Wolves), Jesús Corona (Porto), Hirving Lozano (Napoli) and Nestor Araujo (Celta Vigo).
Jimenez leads the team with 29 goals in 92 appearances. He is on par with Henry Martin and Alexis Vega in pace El Tri with two goals each in qualifying. Sebastian Cordova, Jesus Corona, Héctor Moreno, Mori, Herrera and Lozano have each found the back of the net once.
Eighteen players compete in Liga MX, with a further 11 featuring in Spain (four), Italy (two), Netherlands (two), Belgium (one), England (one) and the United States. United (one).
Monterrey have six of the club’s best players – defenders Jesús Gallardo, Cesar Montes and Moreno and midfielders Rodolfo Pizarro, Luis Romo and Erick Aguirre.
Liga MX powerhouses Club America and Cruz Azul are next with three players each.
Herrera signed with the Houston Dynamo earlier this month but will finish the La Liga season with Atletico Madrid.
MEXICO ROSTER BY POSITION:
Guardians: Guillermo Ochoa (Club America; 125/0), Rodolfo Cota (Leon; 6/0), Alfredo Talavera (Pumas, 38/0), Jonathan Orozco (Club Tijuana; 10/0)
Defenders: Julián Araujo (LA Galaxy/USA; 2/0), Néstor Araujo (Celta Vigo/ESP; 57/3), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk/BEL; 13/0), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey; 70/0), César Montes (Monterrey; 21/1), Hector Moreno (Monterrey; 121/5), Jorge Sánchez (Club America; 20/1), Johan Vásquez (Genoa/ITA; 4/0), Jesús Alberto Angulo (Tigers; 6/0 ), Israel Reyes (Puebla; 1/0)
Midfielders: Edson Álvarez (Ajax/NED; 53/2), Érick Gutiérrez (PSV/NED; 28/1), Héctor Herrera (Atletico Madrid/SPA; 96/10), Carlos Rodríguez (Cruz Azul; 29/0), Luis Romo (Monterrey; 19/0), Erick Aguirre (Monterrey; 10/0)
Forwards: Diego Lainez (Real Betis/ESP; 16/3), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul; 28/8), Jesus Corona (Sevilla/ESP; 66/10), Santiago Gimenez (Cruz Azul; 2/1), Raul Jimenez ( Wolverhampton/ANG; 92/29), Hirving Lozano (Napoli/ITA; 55/15), Henry Martin (Club America; 18/5), Alexis Vega (Chivas; 15/3), Rodolfo Pizarro (Monterrey; 35/5 )