Jurgen Klinsmann has warned his United States side they will be coming up against a wounded animal in the form of Mexico on Tuesday.
The US welcome their rivals to Columbus for a crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier after seeing their 12-match winning streak ended by CONCACAF qualifying group leaders Costa Rica in San Jose last Friday.
Klinsmann's men are still just one point behind Costa Rica at the top though, whereas Mexico go into the game in fourth off the back of a shock home defeat to Honduras - a result that cost manager Jose Manuel de la Torre his job.
However, despite Mexico's travails, the former Germany coach is expecting a tough match in what will be new Mexico boss Luis Fernando Tena's first game in charge.
"This is a very very good team and Mexico certainly would have already had a couple more points if certain things wouldn't have happened," Klinsmann explained.
"It's always a summary of little things throughout many games. With their situation, they have their backs against the wall, which we all understand. We have our own situation.
"We wanted to come back with some points against Costa Rica but we didn't do it, so we need it now. That makes it a very intense and hard fought game on Tuesday night."
Goalkeeper Tim Howard echoed his manager's thoughts, with the Everton man insisting the US will need to bring their "A-game" if they are to take all three points.
"I think when it comes to this game, we're fearful of what Mexico brings. They're a tough team. No matter what anyone says about how they're playing at the moment or what they're going through, it doesn't matter," he stated.comments