Even though the USMNT enjoy things like "dos a cero" (until 2016, at least) and other notable victories over their neighbors to the south -- for example, the 2-0 round of 16 victory at the 2002 World Cup -- they have steadily been a cut beneath El Tri in the eyes of FIFA.
Whether it's the consistency of Mexico's top players across Europe or the number of notable results in big games (2011 Gold Cup, 2015 CONCACAF Cup), there's been precious little for the U.S. to celebrate. Beyond Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and the latest crop of Americans abroad, the efforts of Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (Manchester United, Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen), Rafa Marquez (Monaco, Barcelona), Carlos Vela (Arsenal, Real Sociedad) and the Dos Santos brothers, Giovani and Jonathan have outpaced the Yanks over time.
The best year for both sides was 2005: Mexico hit No. 5 thanks to a brilliant run through World Cup qualification, scoring 67 goals and winning 15 of 18 games en route to a seeded spot in 2006, while the USMNT won the Hex on a tie-breaker. However, a failure to win a single game in Germany that summer saw the Yanks plummet to 31st the following year while Mexico dropped to 20th after a last-16 exit.
The most damning thing for the U.S.? Arena takes over a team ranked worse than the one he took over two decades ago, and with a number of key players (Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard) to eventually replace. Christian Pulisic leads the next generation, but he'll need help.