Three things to know about ... Mexico's women's national team

Mexico faces the USA with an Olympic berth on the line for the winner when they meet Friday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.

1. Mexico seeks 'El Milagro.' El Tri will be the heavy underdog on Friday and need what the Mexican press is suggesting will be a miracle against the USA. Mexico has only qualified for the Olympics once, in 2004 when it beat Canada, 2-1, in the semifinals. It lost to Canada in 2008 and 2012 with a berth on the line and didn't reach the semifinals in 2016 qualifying. The USA is 36-1-1 all-time against Mexico, but its only loss came in a qualifier. The 2-1 loss in Cancun forced the USA to play two playoff rounds -- where it beat Costa Rica and Italy -- to qualify for the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany. The last four meetings have all been easy U.S. wins: 4-1, 6-2 and 5-0 in 2018 and 3-0 in 2019.

2. Chris Cuellar follows in famous father's footsteps. Mexico's coach at the 2004 Olympics was Leo Cuellar, who had played in the 1972 men's tournament himself. Now, Cuellar's son, Chris Cuellar, will attempt to qualify Mexico for the Tokyo Olympics. Chris Cuellar was an assistant under his father and has gone on to have success with Mexico's youth teams, taking teams to the 2014, 2016 and 2018 U-20 World Cups and 2014 and 2016 U-17 World Cups. (The 2018 U-17s lost in the final under new coach Maribel Dominguez.)

3. Mexican-Americans land in Liga MX Femenil. Mexico launched the Liga MX Femenil in 2017 and its drawn record crowds in Monterrey for Tigres and Rayadas champions. The league loosened its restrictions on imports, allowing Mexican-Americans to play for the first time in 2019. Four of the 15 Mexican-based players are Californians: scoring star Renae Cuellar (Tijuana), Bianca Sierra (Tigres), Jocelyn Orejel (Tijuana) and Janelly Farias (Guadalajara). Mexico has two U.S. collegians: Emily Alvarado (TCU) and Jimena Lopez (Texas A&M).
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