Mexico returns to the Azteca for Tuesday night's encounter against the United States, knowing that three points are necessary heading into what will be a very busy summer.
After a scoreless draw at home with Jamaica to kick off the round, the Mexicans let a two-goal lead at Honduras on Friday. That left de la Torre's team with just two points from two matches, disappointing to fans and players alike after a perfect six wins from six in the semifinal round.
Still, the players are unfazed by the intense pressure being heaped on them by the local press and fans ahead of Tuesday night's match.
"We're totally concentrated on the game," said winger Andres Guardado, who had an assist in the 2-2 draw at Honduras. "Also, we know we have more potential than [the U.S.], and we're at home, so we have to take advantage because that's important in World Cup qualifying."
Historically, Mexico has been able to take great advantage of its usual home field in World Cup qualifying. It holds an impressive 68-1-6 record all-time in qualifiers played in the Azteca, while the U.S. has managed only one road draw in qualifying through the years at the building known as the Colossus of Santa Ursula.
The Americans did manage their first win ever in 25 games on Mexican soil in a friendly last August, also at the Azteca, but members of both teams are playing down that result ahead of this much more meaningful match.
"It's tough to say it's lost its mystique," said American forward Herculez Gomez, who plays for his club football in Mexico with CONCACAF Champions League semifinalist Santos. "Look at their record. It's still a pretty strong record."
On Tuesday night, El Tri needs nothing more than to call on the Azteca mystique to help maneuver them back into favorable position in the Hexagonal standings.
The Mexicans will have some other history on their side as well. Poor starts to Hexagonals on the road to the World Cups in 2002 and 2010 didn't stop El Tri from finishing strong and qualifying for soccer's biggest event.
"Those last two times, in 2010 and 2002, we were practically eliminated," recalled Guardado. "But we were able to move things forward in the final games. That's not what we want now, obviously, but we're calm and we know what we need."
Mexico currently sits fourth in the Hexagonal, a single point behind the second-place United States. Depending on other results Tuesday night, a win in the match scheduled for 8:30 P.M. local time in Mexico City could feasibly catapult El Tri into first place.