Mikey Lopez IMAGE

Mikey Lopez was born in Dallas, Texas, but he has a close connection with Mexico.

That makes Friday night’s friendly against Necaxa of Liga MX at Estadio Victoria especially meaningful for the young midfielder.

“I find it really cool that we’re going over there and going to a country near to me and my family who have really deep Mexican roots,” Lopez said.

Both of Lopez’s parents hail from Mexico – dad Miguel from Reynosa and mom Martha from Monterrey. Mikey grew up in Mission, Tex., just five miles north of the Mexican border in the Rio Grande Valley, supporting the Mexican National Team, as well as Tigres briefly as a kid.

Lopez said he started following more of Spain’s La Liga, the Premier League in England and Major League Soccer. And his love of El Tri officially ended when he represented the United States on the Under-20 level, which included an emotional 3-1 extra time loss to Mexico in the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship at Estadio Cuauhtémoc in Puebla.

“None of us lived in Aguascalientes, but its still really special to go down there and play a friendly there and market our team and do well in Mexico,” Lopez said.

Mikey Lopez Excited for Friendly in Mexico -

The match will be also be significant for Lopez, who is looking to make his first appearance since coming off the substitute’s bench in a 5-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on July 30.

He will be one of several players who NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira says can make his lineup decisions in the final two weeks of the MLS regular season and the MLS Cup playoffs difficult.

Lopez also understands the importance of the game on two fronts – the marketing aspect and maintaining the form that has NYCFC level on points with the Red Bulls atop the Eastern Conference with just one loss in their last five matches.

“We’re just trying to keep our momentum going,” Lopez said. “Hopefully we can get another win and continue on this journey through the playoffs and hopefully the MLS Cup.”