Strong U.S. flavor to El Tri Femenil

[USA-MEXICO] The USA and Mexico will open a two-game series to prep for the Concacaf Women's Championship on Saturday when they meet at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (live at 9:30 p.m. ET on ussoccer.com). Mexico's 21-player squad includes 11 American-born or -bred players, including Californians Tanya Samarzich (USC) and Christina Murillo (Michigan), who are red-shirting this fall to play in the Concacaf Women's Championship.

Five players on Mexico’s roster come from NWSL clubs, including Washington Spirit midfielder Veronica Perez and Portland Thorns FC forward Jackie Acevedo, whose teams advanced to this year’s semifinals. Other NWSL players include Houston Dash teammates Arianna Romero and Teresa Noyola and Boston Breakers defender Bianca Sierra.

Texan Alina Garciamendez, who starred at Stanford with Noyola, has returned from Germany's FFC Frankfurt to take part in qualifying. Samarzich is one of four players Mexico coach Leo Cuellar called up from the Mexican team coached by his son, Chris, at the 2014 Under-20 Women's World Cup.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis brought in 28 players to Utah for the training camp before the two-game series that concludes on Thursday at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, New York.

The USA holds a 27-1-1 lead in its series with Mexico. The lone Mexico win came in the 2010 Concacaf Women's Championship semifinals on a goal by Perez. The loss forced the USA to beat Costa Rica in the third-place match and Italy in a two-game playoff to advance to the 2011 Women's World Cup.

The path to Canada 2015 is a lot easier. Concacaf has been awarded an extra slot, giving it 3.5 berths, as the Women's World Cup was expanded from 16 to 24 teams. In addition, Canada, as the Women's World Cup host, is not taking part in the tournament. That leaves Mexico as the only Concacaf team in next month's qualifying tournament that has ever gotten a result against the USA.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC).
DEFENDERS (10): Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC).
MIDFIELDERS (9): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Kristie Mewis (Boston Breakers), Heather O'Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC).
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash).

Mexico Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Cecilia Santiago (Unattached), 12-Brissa Rangel (Real Celeste).
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Arianna Romero (Houston Dash), 3-Monica Alvarado (Unattached), 4-Alina Garciamendez (Unattached), 5-Paulina Solis (Once Mexico), 13-Bianca Sierra (Boston Breakers), 14-Christina Murillo (Univ. of Michigan), 15-Guadalupe Cruzaley (Club Tijuana).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Liliana Mercado (Universidad de las Americas), 7-Nayeli Rangel (Unattached), 8-Teresa Noyola (Houston Dash), 10-Stephany Mayor (Universidad de las Americas), 11-Kenti Robles (Espanyol/SPA), 17-Veronica Perez (Washington Spirit).
FORWARDS (6): 9-Tanya Samarzich (USC), 16-Jazmin Ponce (Unattached), 18-Jackie Acevedo (Portland Thorns FC), 19-Luz Duarte (Juventus Sov), 20-Charlyn Corral (Merilappi United/FIN), 21-Lizbeth Angeles (Investigadoras PF).
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