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US vs. MEX? A how-to guide on the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Austin

The USMT last saw neighboring rival Mexico in a passionate final that saw USA win the Nations League final with a 3-2 finish. (USMNT/Twitter)

Austin has gone Verde, but many were green for Mexico's national team long before Austin FC entered the picture.

The Texas capital was ground zero for Pancho Villa's Army, the U.S. fan club for the Mexican national team, back in 2011, and red, white and blue is represented by USMNT supporters' group American Outlaws.

The bitter rivalry between the two is set to heat back up as the CONCACAF Gold Cup begins July 11.

Austin's hotbed of international football supporters has been rewarded: the semifinal round of the continent's biggest soccer tournament will be hosted at Q2 Stadium on Thursday, July 29. The Gold Cup match at Q2 will come after weeks of elimination matches, many of which will play at neighborhood pubs across the city.

Here's a complete guide on the continent's premier futbol championship, from viewing parties to rival fan clubs to the semifinal round itself.

USA vs. MEX: what you need to know

Mexico and their arch-nemesis, the U.S.A, have a clear grip on the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They've flip-flopped between that championship slot for every tournament appearance since 2011.

Mexico holds an advantage with 11 championship titles, while the U.S. has won six and holds the most runners-up titles with six second-place finishes.

The CONCACAF championships have been held since 1963 and have grown to include 16 teams since 2017. The championship is conducted every two years and is almost always hosted by the U.S. While almost every club involved is from North and Central America or the Caribbean, other big-name invitees include Brazil and Colombia.

This year's championship is divided into four groups:

  • Group A: Mexico, Canada, Martinique, Cuba
  • Group B: Haiti, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Nicaragua
  • Group C: Jamaica, Curacao, El Salvador, Honduras
  • Group D: United States, Panama, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago
The U.S.A and Mexico's formidable rivalry was last seen on the pitch just a month ago as the clubs duked it out for the CONCACAF Nations League championship. Punches were thrown, Austin FC Sporting Director Claudio Reyna's son Gio was hit in the face with a flying object by an angry Mexico fan, and players on each side exchanged rough elbows and tackles as the U.S. took the match 3-2 to win the match. Christian Pulisic of Chelsea fame in the English Premier League drove in a penalty kick in overtime to award the U.S. their first CONCACAF Nations League final.

While neither team is a shoe-in to the championship, they're expected to duke it out in the final or semifinal rounds of the Gold Cup.


The CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on Saturday and runs through July. The Texas-centric tournament takes place in three different Lone Star State metros: Austin, Dallas and Houston.

Group rounds begin on July 10, when EL Salvador takes on Curacao in Frisco and Mexico takes on Trinidad and Tobago at Arlington's AT&T Stadium.

The United States' first group opponent is Haiti. They'll go head to head on July 11 in Kansas City, Kansas.

Quarterfinals run from July 24-25, and semifinal rounds take place at Q2 Stadium and Houston's NRG Stadium on Thursday, July 29.

The final round of the tournament is set in Las Vegas and will culminate at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 1.

View the full schedule here.

Where to watch

For those not caravanning between Texas cities to watch, there's plenty of soccer pubs around the city to watch the tournament with friends in tow and beers in hand.

American Outlaws' HQ is Haymaker Austin at 2310 Manor Road. The sandwich pub hosts watch parties for the USMNT and USWNT, the Euro Cup finals and Austin FC. Catch up on Outlaws' traditions and chants here.

Meanwhile, Takoba, located on 1411 E 7th St., has been known as a watch party site for Pancho Villa's Army.

Sergio Tristán, the founder of PVA, is also a member of Austin FC fan club Austin Anthem. While watch parties haven't been disclosed yet, the Anthem's headquarters, Circle Brewing (2340 W Braker Ln.), is sure to host viewing parties as the tournament wears on. Hopsquad Brewing (2307 Kramer Ln.), Circle's next-door neighbor, has mentioned the Gold Cup as well.

Other Austin pubs with a big soccer presence include:

  • Lavaca Street Bar, 405 Lavaca St
  • The Tavern, 922 W 12th St
  • Jack & Gingers, 11500 Rock Rose Ave
  • Celis Brewery, 10001 Metric Blvd
  • Armadillo Den, 10106 Manchaca Rd
  • Mister Tramps, 8565 Research Blvd
  • Black Sheep Lodge, 2108 S Lamar Blvd
For those looking to stay home, almost every match will be available on Fox Sports 1, Univision or UniMas. Check out the tournament's full television schedule here.

CONCACAF Gold Cup takes Q2

Q2 Stadium was already christened by a U.S national team: why not make it two?

The USWNT made the stadium's debut on Wednesday, June 16 as they scored a triumphant 2-0 victory over Nigeria as part of their Summer Series, bringing a sold-out crowd to their feet in the match.

If either the USMNT or Mexico—or both—make the semifinals, as they're poised to do, at least one team is likely to make their way to Austin. If they play each other, Austin will be in for a night of passion as one of the most highly-anticipated matches on the continent is hosted by Q2 Stadium.

Austin FC President Andy Loughnane said that hosting the tournament is an honor for the new club and the greater Austin area.

Those in red, white, blue and Verde tend to agree.

For ticketing information on the high-stakes match, click here, and for tips on attending Q2 Stadium, check out our Austin FC home matchday guide.

The semifinal round will take place in Austin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 29.


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