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All eyes will be fixated next Wednesday in San Antonio on a matchup that goes beyond the borders and cultures that divide the two nations. It’s a rivalry pitting the biggest two nations in the CONCACAF region. The United States Men’s National Team will be facing their biggest rival in Mexico, in a friendly that’ll be anything but. While the current monthly FIFA World Rankings released on Thursday has El Tri and the Yanks in 18th and 27th places respectively (second and third among CONCACAF-ranked teams, behind Costa Rica), the general North American soccer media considers this to be a match between the two best nations in CONCACAF.

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The Americans and their neighbors to the south have been playing against each other since 1934. While the Americans struck first blood with a 4-2 victory in Rome, the Mexicans have historically dominated the rivalry, winning 33 of their 64 meetings around the world, compared with 18 wins from their northern adversary. Recently, Mexico has only won once in their last five matches with the USA, with three draws. We’ll be taking a look at a few moments in recent memory that helped define the rivalry.

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Dos a Cero IV: USA qualifies (again!)

September 10, 2013. Columbus, Ohio. At the same site and stage where the United States pulled emphatic victories over their biggest rival en route to qualifying for each World Cup from 2002 through 2010, Jurgen Klinsmann and the Americans repeated the feat once more. Goals from Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan on this 2-0 victory assured the US a spot in the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil, and heaped even more despair on a Mexican side that needed a win. This was the fourth consecutive time the USMNT defeated Mexico by the same score at the same venue.

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Mexican Gold Cup triumphs from coast to coast

Mexico has the US’ number when it comes to Gold Cups. El Tri one-upped their rival from the north, with six Gold Cups, to the USMNT’s five. Mexico topped the Americans twice consecutively in the finals of this continental tournament, with wins in 2009 and 2011. The Mexicans crushed the US in the 2009 final, winning 5-0 at the old Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands. Five different scorers, including a then 20-year-old Giovani dos Santos shared the wealth for Mexico’s victory. Two years later, the Mexicans would come back from two goals down to trounce the US in the Rose Bowl, 4-2, in Pasadena. Pablo Barrera recorded a brace, with dos Santos scoring again.

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Azteca hex dropped

In twenty-four trips to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the USMNT had failed to win against Mexican opposition. All of that changed on August 15, 2012. Defender Michael Orozco would be the lone scorer in the USA’s first-ever win at Azteca. Orozco would score in the 80th minute in this friendly encounter.

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