Both the United States and Mexico head into Tuesday's key World Cup qualifier with questions to answer after losses last week.
The lack of certainty adds some intrigue to what's already a rivalry where very little love is lost.
The American squad is coming off its worst performance since a May loss to Belgium. Not only did Costa Rica score a 3-1 victory at home to take over the top spot in the Hex, but they were the far superior side for extended stretches during the match.
El Tri's situation is even more dire. After a shocking loss to Honduras at Estadio Azteca, Mexico decided to change managers.
Luis Fernando Tena takes over on an interim basis after Jose Manuel "Chepo" de la Torre failed to deliver the necessary results.
Now the two sides will both be looking to get back on track by scoring a marquee victory over a rival. Let's check out all the key information for the clash, followed by a preview and prediction.
Where: Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio
When: Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN.com
A pair of injuries caused problems for the United States against Costa Rica.
Jozy Altidore was limited to substitute duty due to a hamstring issue while Michael Bradley injured his ankle during the warm-up, causing him to miss the match.
Not having Altidore and Bradley from the outset was a major setback. Given the national team's 12-match winning streak and the qualifying return of Landon Donovan, hopes were high as it appeared the best lineup was finally coming together.
Instead, it became a patchwork effort for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and things never clicked. Donovan and Clint Dempsey tried rotating atop the formation, but the attack wasn't nearly as dangerous without a true striker like Altidore leading the charge.
The loss of Bradley was also crucial. He's normally the stabilizing force in the midfield for a side that's struggled with consistency at the back.
Sure enough, with him out of the picture, Costa Rica scored twice in the first 10 minutes.
For the American squad, the experience of playing without Altidore and Bradley will now come in handy. Both players are going to miss the match, the striker due to suspension and the midfielder because of the ankle injury.
It's time for Donovan and Dempsey to step up. Perhaps Aron Johannsson will even be used to bolster the attack if Klinsmann wants a more attacking-minded lineup.
As for Mexico, its performance is going to depend heavily on how the players respond to the managerial switch. Do they use it as motivation to turn around a troublesome qualifying situation or allow it to cause further problems?
Only time will tell.
One thing's for sure: talent isn't the issue. El Tri have more than enough skill on the roster to finish in the top three, but the results haven't matched that ability. That's why Mexico needed a change before it was too late.
It's time for the likes of veterans such as Gerardo Torrado and Carlos Salcido to make sure the squad is on the same page.
At the same time, stars such as Javier Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos need to start playing at the level they're capable of.
A road victory over the United States would provide the spark they need to get things back on track.
That said, it's hard to have any faith in Mexico's chances given its recent showings. The turmoil serves as a major advantage for El Tri's red, white and blue rivals.
Prediction: United States 2, Mexico 1
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