On Friday afternoon, Honduras overcame a two goal, second-half deficit at home against Mexico to rescue a valuable point and maintain first place in the Hexagonal.
That evening, Panama scored a second-half goal of its own to equal with host Jamaica, putting the Canaleros on two points and placing them third in the table, with a superior goal differential to Mexico and Jamaica.
That makes Tuesday's showdown in Panama a crucial clash, which could leave the winner sitting pretty after just three games of the ten-game calendar.
But of the two, Panama is surely the team with a little more pressure to perform, having dropped points in its first home match, a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica in which the Canaleros led by two goals before surrendering the lead late.
"The truth is, it's a shame because we've done everything in two games to move ahead," Panama head coach Julio Dely Valdes said. "[In Jamaica], they scored on us when we were doing well and it was hard to recover from that."
A goal from Luis Henriquez gave the Canaleros the point in Jamaica. Panama must now continue the recovery against Honduras, a familiar rival. The two teams met twice in the semifinal round late last year, with Panama opening with a surprise 2-0 win in Honduras, before a scoreless tie in the return leg in October.
They now meet again with even more on the line -- though Honduras head coach Luis Suarez says he doesn't consider himself more familiar with the Panamanians than any other team in the final round.
"That doesn't matter," the Catrachos' coach said. "There are many teams in the tournament and we all know each other well. Regardless of the rival, we have to concentrate up until the point we have qualified for the World Cup."
Honduras comes into the match with a full squad, even after the extreme physical effort put into Friday's draw on a hot afternoon in San Pedro Sula.
"We're good," said Suarez. "There are a few players that have the usual knocks after a tough game, but we're confident they'll be ready to go by Tuesday for this game. We don't have any situations that we're worried about."
Panama will be missing key midfielder Alberto Quintero, who is suspended due to card accumulation.
Honduras leads the Hexagonal with four points from two rounds, and Panama sits third with its two points. This is Honduras' first road trip of the 2013 Hexagonal, while Panama will defend its home turf for the second time in the match, scheduled for 9:00 P.M. local time in Panama City.