The United States begins the final stage of World Cup qualifying with a road test against Honduras. The last qualifying meeting between the two sides resulted in a 3-2 win for the Americans, which secured a berth in the last World Cup.
The Hexagonal round will feature 10 matches for each country and the top three nations are guaranteed a spot in next year's World Cup. The fourth-place team will face the Oceania winner for the final available trip to Brazil out of CONCACAF.
Since there are a limited amount of matches spread over the eight months, it's crucial to get off to a strong start to avoid having to dig out of a hole late. With that in mind, here's the viewing information for Wednesday's match, followed by a preview and prediction.
When: Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. ET
Where: Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Watch: beIN Sport
Live Stream: beINSPORT.tv
Although most of the main pieces of recent United States squads, including Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey, are back for another qualifying assignment, the one player noticeably absent is Los Angeles Galaxy star Landon Donovan.
The longtime face of American soccer is taking some time to recharge the batteries, so to speak, after his club's second straight championship. It's not known when or even if he'll return to international duty, but his offensive prowess will be sorely missed.
In the mean time, Dempsey will need to step up and lead the attack. The Texas native, who plays for Tottenham in the Premier League, has 30 goals in 91 appearances for the United States. No other player on the roster has more than 14 tallies.
The other player who will be in the spotlight is Michael Bradley. The midfielder has shown flashes of pure brilliance during his time with the national team, but Jurgen Klinsmann will be looking for that on an every-match basis now.
In terms of the back line, it could be a big day for Timmy Chandler, who would become cap-tied to the United States with an appearance in the match. The 22-year-old defender should become a national team stalwart in the coming years.
The Americans will need him to shine right out of the gate against a Honduras side that will likely generate most of its chances on the counterattack. The Catrachos feature a reliable, veteran back line that will be tough for the U.S. to penetrate.
It also means defenders like Chandler, who are capable of joining the attack, can't afford to get overzealous. All it takes is one mental error and the Americans could end up on the losing end. They want to earn at least a draw.
All told, the United States has the stronger overall team, even without Donovan. The Americans should be able to escape San Pedro Sula with all three points to get qualifying off to an ideal start.
Prediction: United States 1, Honduras 0