The strong fan base for more than one country in the United States makes the Copa America Centenario a singular opportunity for two of the teams in the prestigious soccer tournament. Former USA international Landon Donovan identified the unusual situation in an exclusive preview video with ESPN.
"The U.S. is going to have home field advantage. Mexico is going to have home field advantage," said Donovan. "This may never happen again."
Mexico's national team, known as El Tri, routinely sells out stadiums in the United States, but this will be the first time the Copa America is hosted there. Mexico regularly competes in the Copa and has been competitive in the tournament before, but has never clinched the title. Mexico will look to change that in this edition of the Copa as the squad is considered by many to be a contender for the title.
The U.S., meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from losing the CONCACAF Cup to Mexico last year. The team has a credibility at stake in the Copa America and coach Jurgen Klinsmann has to show that his leadership of the squad is headed in a positive direction ahead of World Cup qualifying. Making it out of the group stage is imperative in that mission.
One player in particular has something to prove at the Copa America as well, however. Argentina's Lionel Messi, despite his slew of club titles with Barcelona, has claimed few international championships.
"That's always the knock against Messi," said Donovan.
Messi and his Argentine teammates will look to rectify that history and bring the Copa home. Chile, the defending champions, won't want to give the title up easily, however. Brazil is still looking for redemption as well from their humiliating World Cup loss. A Copa America title would offer some consolation. A number of other countries involved would love to be the surprise team of the tournament. It all begins as the Copa America kicks off Friday, June 2.