Mexico set for March friendlies in San Diego, Santa Clara, California

El Tri is headed to the Golden State for a pair of friendly matches early in 2019 as the calendar for next year begins to come together

The Mexico national team is going (going) back (back) to Cali, announcing a pair of friendly matches in the Golden State to take place in March.

El Tri first will play in San Diego at SDCCU Stadium on March 22. On March 26, they’ll travel north to Santa Clara in the San Francisco-San Jose area and play another friendly match at Levi’s Stadium.

While opponents were not announced for either game, the Vice President of Chile’s federation said last week La Roja will face Mexico in San Diego. Media reports in Mexico have speculated that Peru will be the opponent for the second contest of the window.

The matches fall during a FIFA window, meaning teams will likely call in their top players with European clubs required to release their stars. That’s doubly true because the March FIFA dates are the only options for managers to see their squads before this summer’s continental championships, with Mexico looking to win the Gold Cup and South American teams set to contest the Copa America.

Mexico knows both venues well. It played a March friendly at Levi’s Stadium last year, topping Iceland 3-0 in the home of the San Francisco 49ers with an announced crowd of 68,917 taking in the match. El Tri last was in SDCCU Stadium, formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium, in 2016, defeating Chile in a friendly match prior to the 2016 Copa America Centenario 1-0 on a goal from birthday boy Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. The most recent match against Chile was just months ago, when the South Americans visited Mexico in Queretaro and came away with a 1-0 victory.

It remains to be seen who will be the coach of the Mexico national team, but the Mexican federation is expected to announce a four-year agreement with former Atlanta United and Argentina manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino in January.

In addition to the pair of contests in California, Mexico also has announced a friendly match in Arlington, Texas, on June 9 to prepare for the Gold Cup. It likely will play two more friendlies in the United States – one before the Texas match and another in the September FIFA window – as part of a deal with Soccer United Marketing that has seen Mexico play five or six matches stateside for more than a decade.

El Tri also begin their Gold Cup journey in California, opening group play at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. They’ll then travel to Denver and Charlotte before embarking upon group play.

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