Mexico will carry a 16-match unbeaten streak under manager Juan Carlos Osorio into their Copa America Group C opener against Uruguay Sunday evening at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
But El Tri isn’t relying on its recent success, and if any squad can topple their hopes of taking an early lead in the group, it’s Oscar Tabarez’s side.
Los Charruas defeated Mexico last July, with a 1-0 final for the gold medal at the Pan American Games. Midfielder Brian Lozano scored the only goal. While that was mostly an under-22 roster, Mexico is still wary.
"We don’t pay attention to streaks, because we’re not out to go on streaks, we’re out to go out looking for a win match by match," Mexico defender Jorge Torres Nilo told reporters Friday. "We know that we’ve got a very important team in front of us with very important players, but we’re confident in what we have as well. Uruguay isn’t going to be an easy team, but I think we’re also not an easy team [to beat]."
El Tri has plenty to boast about ahead of the match as they try to break out of the group stage for the first time since 2007’s third-place finish. Behind keepers Alfredo Talavera and Guillermo Ochoa, Mexico hasn’t surrendered a single goal since Osorio took over in October.
Forwards Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Oribe Peralta also lead an attack that’s outscored opponents 15-0 dating back to the fall, including Hernandez’s 86th minute winner against Chile in Thursday’s warmup.
Uruguay, who followed a title in 2011’s Copa America with a quarterfinals exit last year, normally has the firepower to contend with the world’s best, but they will miss striker and all-time scorer Luis Suarez this game.
The Barcelona star suffered a hamstring injury during the Copa del Rey final but is traveling with his compatriots while receiving treatment.
Instead, Los Charruas will look to Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani to power what’s typically a highly potent aerial attack. The 29-year-old recorded a brace in Uruguay’s 3-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago last month and can extend his side’s four-match unbeaten streak as well.
Kickoff: Sunday, 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Fox Sports 1