Mexico planning to play friendly matches in the U.S. in 2021

The Mexico national team plans to resume its friendlies in the United States in 2021, although the tightened schedule caused by the backlog of FIFA international windows from this year has meant finding dates is difficult.

El Tri usually plays five friendly games per year in the United States as part of its contract with Soccer United Marketing (SUM), regularly attracting over 50,000 fans, but the coronavirus pandemic caused games against Greece and the Czech Republic in March and a friendly against Colombia in May to be canceled.

Mexican federation (FMF) sporting director Gerardo Torrado explained in a video press conference on Wednesday that the CONCACAF Nations League "Final Four" in March and then World Cup qualifying starting June makes finding dates to play friendlies difficult for next year.

"The [World Cup qualifying] format tightens the calendar up but we are looking with [Liga MX] at the possibility of having some games that allow us to complete the commitment we have," said Torrado. "It is tight, but we're convinced that we can fulfill [the contract] we have and that the many games can be useful to keep preparing to arrive at the Qatar as good as we can be."

Mexico confirmed a friendly against Costa Rica on Sept. 30 in Estadio Azteca and will then travel to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands on Oct. 7, with the FMF still looking to secure another game in Europe during the October international window.

Torrado also confirmed that the FMF has talked to the family of 15-year-old Mexico-born Mallorca player Luka Romero, who has been labeled the "Mexican Messi" by some media.

Romero's parents are from Argentina and he became the youngest-ever player to debut in La Liga when he came on for Mallorca against Real Madrid on June 24.

The player told Fox Sports last month that he'd like to play for Argentina, but that hasn't stopped Mexico, where he only briefly lived as a baby, from attempting to win him over.

"We've been in contact with the family [of Luka], presenting the project, making them aware that we are interested in him," stated Torrado. "In the end, it is a decision that he has to take, he has to be convinced that Mexico is a great option for him to keep developing as a footballer and as a person."

Torrado added: "We are convinced that we have a great project that he can benefit from in all senses. We are very close to him and his family to try to convince him that he can play for Mexico for many years."

The former Cruz Azul and Sevilla midfielder also confirmed that it is "very probable" that the CONCACAF men's Olympic qualifying will be in Guadalajara in March, after the tournament scheduled to take place there in March 2020 was postponed.