There is little to separate the six sides remaining in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
After two rounds, each participant in the Hexagonal has at least one point, while the United States, Panama, Mexico and Jamaica are separated by just one point. On Tuesday two of those sides—Mexico and the United States—will go head-to-head at the Azteca in Mexico City, after which the schedule will be half completed. It is to be a match of monumental importance, and not only because of the rivalry between the continental neighbours.
While Mexico-United States encounters are typically laced with animosity, this time around the stakes are even higher than usual. Given the tightness of the table and the overall quality of the teams involved, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that one of these two sides could fail to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Victory on Tuesday would go a long way in avoiding that fate, although for the United States even a draw would suffice.
Following are five battles that will likely have more than a thing to do with Tuesday’s outcome.