It will take almost a year for the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying to play out, and at the end both the USA and Mexico are expected to be among the three teams guaranteed a trip to Russia 2018. That is because both USA and Mexico are expected to be better than at least three teams (read: Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago) over the course of the Hexagonal tournament that determines CONCACAF's representatives in Russia.
So it is certainly possible to argue that results between these two rivals don't really matter that much, since they are both expected to pick up ample points in their other fixtures in the six-team group.
But these teams are rivals, which counts for more than a little bit. And, as Mexico discovered in the last Hex, the tournament can quickly get tricky for any team - regardless of its reputation - that makes a habit of dropping points, especially at home.
In 2014 World Cup qualifying, El Tri opened the Hex with a 0-0 draw at home (with Jamaica) and a 2-2 draw on the road (in Honduras), and never really recovered from the faltering start. Mexico mostly owed its place in Brazil 2014 to the late heroics of Graham Zusi, playing in Panama for the USA on yet another night El Tri couldn't make its own match deliver the result it needed.
Mexico's near-miss in 2014 World Cup qualifying set an example all Hex favorites must heed: a complacent start to this tournament can lead to a nerve-wracking finish. The USA will want to win its opening match at home; Mexico would surely enjoy anything other than what has become the habitual World Cup qualifying loss to USMNT on American soil.
Both teams certainly want to beat each other: they are rivals, after all. And neither wants to endure the sort of year-long stumble that was El Tri's last Hex.
New York Red Bulls fans will be hoping to see Sacha Kljestan play a significant role in a strong USMNT performance. Standing in the USA's way will be two less-popular figures from RBNY history: Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio (the last manager to guide RBNY to an unequivocally bad season) and captain Rafa Marquez (the only name you need mention next time someone suggests the Red Bulls need a big-name "difference-maker" to push them to MLS Cup glory: not all big names work out, and RBNY knows that better than most clubs in MLS).
Per livesoccertv.com, here's where to find the match: