CARY, North Carolina -- One of the region's oldest rivalries will be renewed Thursday night as the world champion United States and Mexico will kick off their quest to reach the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup at the 2018 concacaf Women's Championship.
The teams will clash in the second game of a Group A doubleheader at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7:30 p.m. ET.
El Tri is the only confederation team to defeat the Americans during qualifying, recording a 2-1 semifinal win in 2010. That forced the USA, which is 32W-1D-1L in CWC, to qualify for the 2011 Women's World Cup by defeating Italy in a home-and-home series.
The U.S., the top-ranked women's team in the world and defending world champions after its triumph at Canada 2015, brings in many weapons. That includes midfielder Lindsey Horan, who was voted the 2018 MVP of the National Women's Soccer League. Forward Carli Lloyd, two-time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, may be hard-pressed to start for this coach Jill Ellis' talented squad, but she is a threat off the bench in tight games.
Under coach Roberto Medina, the Mexicans will try to qualify for its third consecutive World Cup and fourth overall. Mexico is led by forward Charlyn Corral (team-best 22 goals) and midfielder Monica Ocampo (team-high 85 appearances, plus 17 goals).
Mexico's Cecilia Santiago, who became the youngest goalkeeper to appear in a WWC (16 years, 251 days) at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, is expected to tend goal.
The team met twice earlier this year, with the U.S. winning, 4-1 and 6-2.
Panama and Trinidad & Tobago play in the tournament opener.