The United States and Mexico play a mildly important soccer match tonight

USA TODAY Sports

Let's turn down the heat in an overheated international soccer rivalry and ask: what are we really watching tonight when the USMNT plays Mexico in Estadio Azteca?

It is a heated rivalry, but isn't everything a bit overwrought when talking about Mexico and the United States? Even within the relatively tame CONCACAF, El Tri and the USMNT can't rightfully claim the title of most bitter rivalry. El Salvador and Honduras once went to war over a soccer game. Until we do that, second place is the ceiling for the Battle of the Rio Grande, since it's hard to be more hostile than actual warfare. We must have some standards here.

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Note: not actual war

You might be getting a bit too excited for other reasons, too. You might have no idea how early this game is in World Cup Qualifying's long march to Brazil, so we'll tell you: this is the third of 10 qualifying matches the United States has to play before ever worrying about the World Cup, with the last happening in October of 2013 against Panama. You will have to stay this excited for seven months just to be fair to every other equally sporting rival in CONCACAF. And you do value them all equally, because this is just international soccer, and nothing to get overly emotional about, yes? Sloppy, haphazard international soccer?

It's not even like you're seeing either team rolling into Estadio Azteca at full strength. The United States is without numerous key players (Jermaine Jones, Steve Cherundolo, the hiatused Landon Donovan, and goalie Tim Howard) and Mexico is missing their veteran captain, Francisco Rodriguez. Few players are at top form, the timing's awful, and Mexico almost never loses at home, particularly to a team that just pulled off a fluky Azteca upset in an August 2012 friendly. Lightning is not striking twice.

And do you really want to stay up for a 10:30 p.m. ET kick just to watch the United States lose by two goals at the crack of midnight in a game that, in the grand scheme of things, means little for their qualifying hopes? You're an adult. Surely you have other things to do.

The United States and Mexico will play an early, low-consequence qualifier very late at night for the East Coast that, in the end, really isn't going to matter much. I mean every word of this, and am not going to end this post with the crass jingoistic banter you might hear from an overly emotional United States Men's National Team fan. Let's respect it for what it is: a sporting contest between two part-time teams filled with talented athletes we should respect regardless of nationality or team affiliation.

In conclusion:

THE UNITED STATES WILL BEAT MEXICO BY FOUR GOALS IN A GAME THAT WILL FOREVER SINGE THE EYEBALLS OF HORRIFIED MEXICAN SOCCER FANS. CLINT DEMPSEY WILL SCORE TWO OF THEM. THERE WILL BE DEUCE-FACE. I WILL NOT GO TO BED UNTIL 1 A.M. AT THE EARLIEST DESPITE HAVING TO WAKE UP TO GET A SMALL CHILD READY FOR SCHOOL IN THE MORNING. YOUR REASON IS DEAD TO ME. BURY IT WITH YOUR DREAMS AND MEET ME ON ESPN AT 10:15 P.M. WITH SNACKS AND COURAGE.

YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU.

NOW HERE IS A PICTURE OF CLINT DEMPSEY ON THE MOON EATING PIZZA WITH A BEAR THAT REPRESENTS THE ETERNAL STRENGTH OF THE AMERICAN FRONTIER.

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THE MONEY REPRESENTS MONEY. THE FIREWORKS REPRESENT FIREWORKS. THE CLINT DEMPSEY REPRESENTS VICTORY. GO GO USA!

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