Familiar foes must face each other one more time in order to reach the promised land. Team USA will take on Mexico for the fifth time with the Gold Cup trophy on the line. Of course, these to nations have a much bigger history against one another, but it always seems to come to a head at the Gold Cup. Both teams took a long, winding road to get here. And now they look to find a way to come up with one more win and leave Soldier Field in Chicago with the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup trophy in tow.
Bragging rights, regional supremacy, and momentum heading into both the Concacaf Nations League and 2022 World Cup qualifying are all at stake here. Mexico is looking for a record eighth Gold Cup championship, while Team USA looks for a record-tying seventh. Both teams have combined to win 13 of the previous 14 championships (Canada won back in 2000). Prepare for another classic between Concacaf's oldest rivals.
United States vs. Mexico
When: Sunday, July 7 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Soldier Field (Chicago)
TV: FS1 and Univision
Three Things to Watch
1. Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie are on fire
Both men have combined to score five of Team USA's 13 goals in this tournament. Pulisic had a brace in Wednesday night's 3-1 semifinal win over Jamaica, while both of McKennie's scores have come during the knockout stage. They are scoring at the right time as both men are considered the future of the United States Men's National Team (USMNT). But it will take more of an overall team effort in order to defeat Mexico.
2. Mexico has the endurance
Mexico has needed more than 90 minutes to decide each of its past two games. It took penalty kicks for "El Tri" to defeat Costa Rica in the quarterfinals as two extra periods weren't enough. Then in the semifinals, Mexico needed a goal in the 93rd minute to end Haiti's magical run in this Gold Cup. This Mexican team has shown that it can get the job done even if it takes overtime but Team USA will test that endurance. However, the Americans' defense will be tested by Mexico's offense, as eight different players have scored for "El Tri" to help get them to this point.
3. The 70th edition of U.S. vs. Mexico
Mexico holds a commanding 34-19-15 edge and has outscored the U.S. 138-80 in their head-to-head meetings. Mexico leads in Gold Cup encounters 4-2 with all but one of those matches deciding the championship. The last three meetings have been split (1-1-1), with those being friendlies or qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Regardless of the circumstances, there is plenty of history between these two neighbors and Concacaf anchors.
While these teams have split the last four Gold Cup titles, the difference this time is that Team USA comes in with a much younger team that doesn't possess a great deal of experience in this event. Quite a few of the players on this American squad are experiencing the Gold Cup — and in some cases this rivalry — for the first time. Team USA has made tremendous strides in this tournament and is slowly starting to turn the corner. And while they will give Mexico another hard-fought contest, Mexico's overall experience and recent success against Team USA takes hold as "El Tri" takes home an eighth Gold Cup championship. But make no doubt that the USMNT will regroup and make plenty of noise at the Concacaf Nations League later this year.
Prediction: Mexico 4, United States 3
— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.