The U.S. and Mexico are each one game away from playing a pair of critical World Cup qualifiers. But neither side is providing many reasons to cheer or feel confident about lately.
The United States went 0-for-Europe in a week's span, losing 2-0 to England and 1-0 to Spain. Sunday's opponent could wipe the floor with the US, as evidenced by Argentina's 4-1 thrashing of Mexico. Landon Donovan, Jonathan Spector and Benny Feilhaber have each suffered injuries. The players have seemingly not been able to pick up the slack left behind by Donovan's absence. Coach Bob Bradley's call ups have been questioned (Josh Wolff, most notably) as well as his lineup choices (Freddy Adu's limited time, for starters). Sure, the US is the Gold Cup champs and will play in the Confederations Cup next year but these next two-plus weeks will be critical, and this isn't exactly the best way to enter them.
Mexico, meanwhile, have as much turmoil and uncertainty as they've seen in recent history. Coach Hugo Sanchez was an unmitigated disaster, particularly over his final month-plus in charge. The coaching situation was finally resolved this week as Sven Goran Eriksson took charge but players were not exactly thrilled with the news. Jesus "Chucho" Ramirez, though, made the hiring look wise as Mexico were destroyed 4-1 by a superior Argentina side. Mexico has nothing but World Cup qualifying to prepare and play for over the next 12-18 months, but El Tri is all but limping into the first pair of qualifiers.
So who is in worse shape? Which fans have reason to worry? Or is there nothing to get too worked up about on either side of the border?