USA vs. Mexico: Best USMNT vs. El Tri rivalry moments, all-time records, biggest games, ‘dos a cero’ and more


When Argentina and Brazil play it might be the highest quality, most popular international rivalry in the Western Hemisphere, but there isn’t a more tense, dramatic and competitive one than the United States versus Mexico. The stars and stripes against El Tri has produced countless impressive and unforgettable moments over the decades, not to mention over the last year when the teams twice met in the finals of major international competitions. A third very well may arrive on Friday when they two meet in World Cup qualifying in Cincinnati, with both national teams in good shape to punch a ticket to next year’s World Cup in the coming months. 

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Before that match, here’s a look at their head-to-head record, recent meetings, biggest meetings and more:

USA vs Mexico head-to-head record

  • Total meetings: 72
  • Mexico wins: 36
  • USA wins: 21
  • Draws: 15
  • Largest victory: Mexico 7, USA 2 in 1937

Last meeting between USA and Mexico

August 1, 2021: This was the 2021 Gold Cup final in Las Vegas, where both teams fielded, essentially, their B or C teams. Of course, the United States had two players star who have now become key pieces of their A team in goalkeeper Matt Turner and defender Miles Robinson. The latter got the winning goal in extra time to earn his team the coveted hardware.

Last meeting featuring both teams stars

June 6, 2021: The last meeting that really felt like an authentic USA-Mexico was back in June during the 2021 Concacaf Nations League final. That’s when both teams had their A teams and took the competition extremely seriously. Knowing that domestic-based players would be needed for the Gold Cup, both Gregg Berhalter and Gerardo Martino went with their big guns and played out a wild match that saw the U.S. win 3-2 in extra time thanks to Christian Pulisic’s penalty winner:

Biggest meeting in a cup final

June 25, 2011: The 2011 Concacaf Gold Cup final is one that nobody will forget. It featured Bob Bradley’s USA team against Jose Manuel de la Torre’s El Tri in an epic battle that featured six goals, including the outstanding lobbed upper-90 finsh from Giovani Dos Santos to seal the win. The match had the big names like Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Chicharito Hernandez, Gerardo Torrada and more, and it even featured Freddy Adu getting a start for the red, white and blue. 

Most important meeting ever

June 17, 2002: Nothing tops this. While Mexico may have the bragging rights when it comes to the most wins in this series, it is the United States that can hang its hat on the greatest win of them all. It was a monumental day in Jeonju, South Korea for the U.S. and one that is an ever-lasting pesadilla for Mexico fans. The 2002 World Cup round of 16 meeting, with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line, saw the U.S. come away 2-0 winners thanks to Brian McBride and Landon Donovan. It remains their only ever meeting at a World Cup, and it is far and away the most important two games either team has ever played against each other. This is where “dos a cero” was truly cemented. 

What comes next?

On Friday, another chapter in this historic rivalry will be written. The USMNT heads into the matchup with the upper hand given it’s two wins this year, but these games are always close and hard fought no matter the circumstances. It will be thrilling, it will be physical, and it will either see Mexico take home the bragging rights for the time being of the U.S. keep them in their possession, along with the two trophies over the summer.

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