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'Tata' Martino to make Atlanta return as Mexico boss for pre-Gold Cup friendly

MEXICO CITY -- Gerardo "Tata" Martino is set to return to Atlanta ahead of the Gold Cup as Mexico coach this June, according to sources consulted by ESPN FC.

Martino led Atlanta United to the MLS Cup in his second season in charge to become a legend in the city and the Argentine is widely reported to be taking over the Mexican national team in early 2019.

Mexico's friendly game in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is likely to be Martino's third in charge of El Tri, with the 2019 calendar ahead of this summer's Gold Cup becoming clearer.

Martino should make his debut with Mexico against Chile in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, which has already been confirmed by the Chilean federation. That game is likely to take place on March 22, with Mexico to play four days later on March 26 in Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, according to sources. ESPN Mexico is reporting that Peru will be the opponent.

The pre-Gold Cup warm-ups -- set to feature a full-strength Mexico squad -- will be the Atlanta friendly on June 5 followed by the already-announced June 9 clash in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The opponents for both the June games are as yet unknown.

The Mexico national team will play another friendly in the United States in September, according to the same sources, but the date hasn't been confirmed as yet.

There has been no official confirmation that Martino will be the new Mexico head coach, although federation president Yon de Luisa hinted that the announcement isn't too far away.

"We will be announcing the decisions and contract signings at the start of the upcoming year," said De Luisa, when asked by ESPN on Sunday evening inside Estadio Azteca about when the official announcement about Martino would be made.

The FMF is holding a press conference on Tuesday morning in Mexico City, although no details were released about what it will be about.

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