The only undefeated sides in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying will go head to head Friday when Panama welcome Mexico to Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
Panama, with one win and two draws, had been top of The Hex until Tuesday, when Mexico snuck a 1-0 win against Jamaica in Kingston and catapulted over three confederation rivals and into first place.
A second win on the bounce would surely put one foot into next year’s World Cup finals for Mexico, although Panama—the only side in the six-team mini-tournament to have never played in the competition proper—would surely value at least a point ahead of upcoming matches away to both the United States and Costa Rica.
Managers Julio Dely Valdes and Jose Manuel de la Torre will each be emphasizing individual matchups as kickoff approaches. Both teams fancy wing play as a preferred manner of buildup, and not coincidentally the battles in the wide areas figure prominently in the next five slides, which highlight the contest’s key matchups.