The Mexican men's national soccer team's appearance in Seattle on April 16 will mark the debut of a new coach. Hugo Sanchez was fired by...

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The Mexican men’s national soccer team’s appearance in Seattle on April 16 will mark the debut of a new coach. Hugo Sanchez was fired by the country’s soccer federation Monday, according to several reports.

Sanchez, 49, is a Mexico legend from his days as a player. He played in three World Cups and starred for Real Madrid, earning his distinction as arguably Mexico’s greatest player. He replaced Ricardo LaVolpe as national-team coach in November 2006, and also became coach of Mexico’s under-23 national team.

When that team failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics this summer, it appeared to be the last straw for the federation. Sanchez failed to deliver on promises to win regional titles — Mexico lost to the United States in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final last year — and couldn’t return Mexico to its former place as the dominant soccer nation in North America.

The U.S. has had the upper hand with two wins and tie against Mexico on American soil in the past three meetings, and Sanchez’s teams have two wins, three losses and two ties in their past seven games.

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Debate about Sanchez’s tenure and success rate had swirled long before his dismissal.

Jesus Ramirez, who coached Mexico’s U-17 national team to a world title in 2005, has been named interim coach though a search is under way, and Ramirez’s first game in that capacity will be at Qwest Field when Mexico faces China in a friendly.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or jromero@seattletimes.com