Players from Mexico's national team (pictured) head to the team bus after arriving in Los Angeles on October 8, 2015, for the CONCACAF Cup. (Photo: Mexsport)
LOS ANGELES – Mexico arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday night to complete its final preparations for its CONCACAF Cup encounter against the United States.
With a berth in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup set to be awarded to the winner, the Tricolor is treating the occasion with all the seriousness that it deserves.
"The game is one that we all want to live, to enjoy on the field and will – without a doubt – be a game vital to our aspirations,” said defender Miguel Layun. "The United States can win just like us. Today, the expectation is great, so we played and created a special environment particular to this game that gives it a distinct flavor not experienced in a long time.”
There has not been a competitive fixture disputed between the sides in more than two years, when the Americans posted a 2-0 victory at home in a 2014 World Cup qualifier. The last time they met at the Rose Bowl – the site for Saturday’s showdown – Mexico rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a 4-2 win in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup final.
Layun doesn’t view the latest installment of the rivalry as being a battle of CONCACAF powers. He’s taking it from the perspective that two quality teams earned the right to contest an important match against each other.
"I do not see it as two giants. I see it as two teams that got here today and are playing for a ticket to the Confederations [Cup],” the FC Porto standout commented. “At the end of the day, that’s the assignment given to the teams, giants or not. I prefer to see it as two great teams that today have the possibility of reaching the Confederations [Cup].”
With rumors swirling about head coaching candidates once Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s interim stint ends after a friendly against Panama on October 13, Layun says that the squad is not distracted by the speculation.
"We are thinking about Saturday's game,” he finished. “This game does not allow you to think about outside things. It's time to be focused, deeply involved, to do today what Tuca wants. Later, we will head for other things."