The United States men's national soccer team faces arch-rival Mexico in a friendly international Wednesday night in Glendale, Arizona. As VOA's Steve Schy reports, the match will be played at the new University of Phoenix stadium.
The match is the 52nd meeting between the two nations and will mark the debut of Mexican coach Hugo Sanchez, who late in his playing career starred for Major League Soccer's Dallas Burn. Bob Bradley will be at the helm of the U.S. squad for just his second match.
While the game comes early in the four-year cycle leading up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Mexico will be bringing some of its top players. Bradley says he has a lot of respect for Mexico's team.
"I see Mexico always as a great soccer team with good history and now our number one rival," he said. "We always know when we play them that fans of both our teams will view this match with extra importance."
When hosting Mexico, the U.S. soccer team has dominated the series in recent years, with six wins, no losses and one draw since 2000.
Team USA has scored 11 goals in that time period while Mexico has failed to put the ball in the net on American soil since the turn of the century.
More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for the game, which is expected to draw many Mexican soccer fans. Bradley says Team USA is looking forward to the challenge.
"We expect just a great atmosphere and we know that Mexico is typically very well supported in these kind of matches," he said. "We know what that feels like. We understand that there will still be a great number of U.S. supporters there and we are concentrating on playing in an atmosphere that will be exciting, that will be loud, and understand what goes into playing in these kind of big games."
The two teams have not met since a World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, on September 3, 2005. The U.S. won that match 2-0 to become the first team from the CONCACAF confederation to qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.