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ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 07: Alex Morgan #13 of United States runs onto the pitch prior to the SheBelieves Cup soccer match between United States and England at Orlando City Stadium on March 7, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/ Getty Images)

Alex Menendez/Getty Images

The United States women’s national team will meet with Mexico for the first of two friendlies on Thursday, as both teams continue their preparations for this summer’s CONCACAF Women’s Championship.

The Americans will enter the tournament as clear favourites after cruising to the title four years ago, while Mexico finished third. The two rivals haven’t met a lot in the past few years, with just one contest in Olympic qualifying in 2016―an American win.

Kick-off for Thursday’s match will be at 7 p.m. ET at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. The match will be broadcast on FS1, with live-stream options available via the Fox Soccer Match Pass app.

CONCACAF Championship Preview?

To say the CONCACAF Championship has been dominated by the region’s major teams would be an understatement. The United States have won every edition they’ve entered, with the exception of the 2010 tournament, when Canada took top honours.

Mexico have only made it to the final once but have finished in the top three or better every year since 2002. This year, the top three finishers will qualify directly for the World Cup, held in France next year.

With such remarkable consistency from both sides, a clash at the CONCACAF Championsip seems almost inevitable. Playing two friendlies so soon before the start of that tournament could be seen as risky, although both teams know they have relatively limited competition elsewhere in the region.

The two rivals have met 34 times so far, with the Stars and Stripes winning 32 and Mexico winning once.

Strong U.S. Influence in Mexican Team

El Tri will travel to Florida with a team filled with players with connections to the hosts, while the United States returned the favour by calling up Sofia Huerta:

Bianca Henniger, Christina Murillo, Vanessa Flores, Maria Sanchez, Katie Johnson and Kiana Palacios all currently ply their trade for American teams. Several of those players were born and raised in the States, and Henniger didn’t switch allegiance until 2015.

The Mexican team has been in solid form in 2018, winning three of their four matches in the Turkish Cup before a narrow defeat in the final against France B. El Tri will be without numerous players from the Liga MX Femenil, including star player Nayeli Rangel.

Prediction

The Stars and Stripes are expected to experiment with their squad, with plenty of rotations between the two friendlies―the second will be played on Sunday. Head coach Jillian Ellis has opted for experience, however, and the bulk of this team was a part of the winning SheBelieves Cup side.

The Americans have a distinct advantage in talent and homefield advantage on their side. This one-sided rivalry shouldn’t throw up any surprises this week.

Final score: USA 3-0 Mexico

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