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Trump towers over US-Mexico soccer clash

AAP logoAAP 9/11/2016 Warren Barnsley

While the world awaits how Donald Trump's shock election as US president truly affects relations between America and Mexico - and mostly whether The Wall becomes a reality - there's set to be some extra spice in the two nations' upcoming World Cup qualifier.

The United States will host its southern neighbour in Ohio on Friday (Saturday AEDT) with spots at Russia 2018 at stake as the fifth round of World Cup qualification kicks off.

Building walls, for now at least, will only apply to defending free kicks outside the box.

It will be the first interaction between the two countries since the controversial Republican's stunning rise to president, and although mostly symbolic, it might offer a guide as to what affect - if any - an often savage election campaign has had on relations.

And with the president-elect Trump's labelling of some Mexican immigrants as rapists and vowing to make the the country pay for a wall along their border, a bit of extra emotion could well be expected.

"It's very unique. It's a confrontation that's about a lot more than just soccer," US coach Jurgen Klinsmann told FIFA.com.

"It really is a special thing. In our region, it's the big one. It's the two big boys going at each other for a lot more than just the result.

"There's a lot of heat involved, but also there's a lot of respect."

The match is being dubbed the biggest international soccer game on American soil in three years.

Mexico has gone 12-1-2 since former Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls manager Juan Carlos Osorio took over in October 2015.

But the US will enjoy a distinct home advantage when Mexico travels across the border to Columbus' 20,000-seat MAPFRE Stadium, where the US are aiming for a fifth-straight 2-0 win over El Tri in World Cup qualifying at the venue.

"The majority of US fans fill up that stadium. It's incredible," said US defender Omar Gonzalez, a Mexican-American who plays in the Mexican league.

"You don't really get that anywhere else you go, so it's definitely an advantage for us to play here in Columbus.

"It's not the biggest stadium, it's intimate but it's loud."

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