Action from the 2010 CONCACAF Women's Championship semifinal between the United States and host Mexico in Cancun. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHESTER, Pennsylvania -- Midfielder Carli Lloyd says she never wants to experience those feelings again.
Four years ago, as host, Mexico stunned the United States, 2-1, in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women's Championship (then known as CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying), forcing the Americans to qualify for the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup (WWC) through a playoff against Italy.
"It was a wake-up call," said Lloyd. "This team has been the No. 1 team in the world for so many years. I'll never forget that game, the field, the atmosphere, the frustration.
"Nothing is a guarantee with this team. It kind of humbled us a bit for future stuff. We all know what's at stake. We know what we have to get done. We don’t want that to ever happen again."
The Americans will meet Mexico again in a CWC semifinal, when they square off at PPL Park on Friday for a spot in the 2015 WWC.
Defender Christie Rampone, who will earn her 300th cap if she plays in the match, said that she will use that game in Cancun as a motivation.
"We have to always make sure we come out with the right mindset and make sure we are communicating and we're organized and we're decisive,” the 39-year-old said. “We've got to have a good tempo. We've got to make sure we stick to the game plan and not too get frustrated, not get too rattled that we’re not scoring in the first half.”
The U.S. qualified for the 2011 WWC, losing in the final. The next year, it went on to win an Olympic gold medal at the Summer Olympics in London, further solidifying its hold as the top-ranked team in the world.
In two recent friendly matches, the USA prevailed over Mexico, 8-0 and 4-0.
"We know the quality and the strengths of our opponent," said Mexico head coach Leo Cuellar. "We are going to try to be ready for the challenge. The Mexican players see this as an opportunity to play one of the giants in the world soccer. We have a couple of very bad results [with] the U.S. We understand that. We're working to correct things and we're expecting to be a different opponent."
Cuellar admitted the Americans have many great players, but stressed that the game is played on the field.
"We will present ourselves with the possibilities to earn the ticket,” he finished. “It’s one of those games, you have to manage that game as a perfect game. You cannot make mistakes in many areas. You have to be very efficient. You have to be very disciplined. The level of concentration by us has to be high."