If you ask most American soccer fans what they consider to be the most important matches they look forward to, most will have USA-Mexico World Cup qualifying matches at or near the top of their lists.
For the past decade, the U.S. men’s national team’s visits to Mexico City, as well as Mexico’s trips to Columbus, Ohio, have become must-see events. U.S. fans have celebrated the run of 2-0 scorelines at Crew Stadium, while remaining frustrated at the national team’s inability to secure a point or three at Estadio Azteca, where no American team has ever won.
It is this history that makes these games so special, and have fans on both sides of the border counting the days, months and years until the next meeting.
Unfortunately for those fans, and for both national teams, they may have to wait much longer for those matches than they could have ever expected.
CONCACAF is set to dramatically change its World Cup qualifying process, a move that will mean more games and more opportunities for the smaller teams in the region, but a move that will effectively cripple the region’s best rivalry.