Wil Trapp, Gyasi Zardes, and the rest of the U.S. Men’s National Team open a two-match friendly schedule against Mexico on Friday, Sept. 6, as the Stars and Stripes look to improve following a 1-0 loss to El Tri in the 2019 Gold Final on July 7.
Trapp, whose 19 caps leads the Men's National Team's seven-player midfielder pool, spoke on Friday's objectives and the convergence between MNT players abroad who are coming off a fresh start to their domestic seasons and Major League Soccer guys who are reaching the end of their regular-season campaigns.
“Well I think it’s heightened for sure, just having the Gold Cup final not but two months ago, so the emotion will be high as always, but it’s a game in which we are excited,” Trapp said on Friday's match vs. Mexico. “We have a lot of guys that have been playing at a great level to start the season and for the guys in MLS that have been carrying on now into the latter stages of the season, so we are excited. We always know it’s going to be a difficult task, of course, but it should make for a good game.”
Friday’s meeting is the 70th all-time match-up between the North American rivals, with Mexico holding a 35-19-15 series advantage dating back to 1934. Albeit a friendly, the tension will be high, though it’s more of an opportunity to grow rather than one for retribution.
“Even though it’s a friendly match, we want to win, of course,” Trapp said. “We want to play well, we want to learn from the game we had two months ago and see if we can expand upon it and do things we maybe didn’t execute in the first game.”
Men's National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter echoed the same sentiment, telling Sports Illustrated’s Brian’s Straus that “that’s the beauty of playing [Mexico again]. In the next game, you get to make adjustments. You get to look at what you want to work on, how you want to work, and change things a little bit and how the team is going to react.”
Berhalter continued on, saying in sum, that it is about gathering intel, though other players such as FC Dallas’ Reggie Cannon, hammered on about “revenge”.
In the end, it’s an exhibition against a regional opponent as well as an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of July's Gold Cup final and, of course, an entertaining match for MNT supporters.
“The quality of players that both nations are churning out makes for a fun spectacle and makes for high-level games,” Trapp said.
Kickoff for Friday's match is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, Univision, and TUDN.