Mexico cannot lose against the United States Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, if they want to keep the World Cup dream alive.
El Tri stands fourth in CONCACAF with eight points, one point ahead of Panama, with three matches remaining. While the top three teams in the region automatically qualify for Brazil, the fourth-place team has to face New Zealand in a playoff.
Recently appointed Luis Fernando Tena has quite a challenge ahead, but he knows this squad like the palm of his hand.
Tena has already had some of these players at his service. Last year he won the Summer Olympics with the help of Jose de Jesus Corona, Diego Reyes, Hiram Mier, Hector Herrera, Javier Aquino, Giovani dos Santos, Oribe Peralta and Raul Jimenez.
Mexico need to keep the ball as much as possible. Possession will be key in this game and that is why a 4-5-1 formation can help Mexico. The formation is not that different from the 4-3-3; hence the team should not struggle.
Gerardo Torrado received a yellow card against Honduras and the second of the tournament, which means he is suspended.
Jose de Jesus Corona
He has been the undisputed starter for a while now. Corona has the manager's trust as they worked together in the Summer Olympics.
The Cruz Azul keeper made a mistake in the match against Honduras that resulted in the equalizer. It was an unusual move from Corona because he has proved to be a confident goalkeeper.
For this game, Mexico needs someone experienced that has played under pressure regularly. Corona has great reflexes and has improved his aerial game over the past months.
Tena's other options are Jonathan Orozco (Monterrey) and Alfredo Talavera (Toluca).
RB: Hiram Mier
The Monterrey defender has not played much in the Hexagonal, but he certainly has the talent and nerve to do it.
Mier is a very intelligent player that knows how to keep and control the ball. He has a fine touch, which comes in handy when he feeds balls to the midfielders.
CB: Diego Reyes
The 20-year-old's performance against Honduras was disappointing. He was not focused; hence Los Catrachos scored the winning goal. However, Reyes has proved to be a consistent footballer that can deal with pressure.
He is the future of Mexico's defense. Reyes has great technique both covering and passing.
CB: Hector Moreno
Moreno is a classy player and a fantastic leader. He has gained a lot of experience during his time with European clubs.
He has only missed one game of the Hexagonal, due to injury. Moreno will not be a letdown.
LB: Jorge Torres Nilo
The Tigres footballer has had to fight for the starting position. Carlos Salcido has been the first choice for a long time. However, he has not been at his best lately.
After Salcido's poor game against Honduras, Torres Nilo should get a chance to prove he belongs. He tends to join the attack with good long-distance shots and headers.
LAM: Giovani dos Santos
Dos Santos has proved to be an unbalancing player when he comes from the sidelines. Against Honduras, his physical condition was not impressive, but he certainly has what it takes to become a game-changer.
His technique and creativity will be key in giving Mexico depth, something that they have lacked for a long time.
CM: Hector Herrera
He should take Gerardo Torrado's place. Herrera is a strong midfielder who can feed balls to the attacking midfielder and the striker without leaving the defense unattended.
Like other of his teammates, he plays in Europe (Porto) and has the trust of Tena. Herrera was the best player of the 2012 Toulon tournament.
CM: Fernando Arce
He has played for Xolos since 2011 and is one of the top players of the Liga MX. Arce is good with ball possession and even better when creating plays.
Mexico will rely on him in the midfield, so Arce needs to be at his best against the United States. He has to step up and stay focused.
RAM: Christian Gimenez
The recently naturalized Gimenez has given the team diversity in the attack. He can help from the sideline or the center of the pitch. With his club he has been instrumental, especially in set pieces.
Gimenez is fast and unbalancing. He can give support to the strikers or become a finisher in a heartbeat.
AM: Angel Reyna
Reyna was not at his best against Honduras but he is an amazing footballer. He can shoot, pass and control the ball.
He works hard to keep the ball and is very fast. Reyna will be instrumental in opening up the United States defensive line and giving the striker or wingers a chance to face the keeper.
El Cepillo is going through a good moment. After being sidelined from the Confederations Cup due to injury, Peralta is back in business. He scored Mexico's first goal at the Azteca Stadium in this year's Hexagonal.
Right now, if there is someone that can score in Columbus, it is Peralta. If he does, he will be the first Mexican to achieve the feat, because El Tri has never gotten a goal there.