Los Canaleros grabbed a valuable three points away from home over the weekend, blanking Jamaica 3-0, while the Mexicans have a 100% record thus far after beating Costa Rica 1-0.
The Panamanians put on another solid performance in the third round of CONCACAF qualifying but were a lot more clinical in front of goal versus the Reggae Boyz than they were in their opener against Los Ticos.
Thomas Christiansen saw his side go after the Jamaicans from the opening whistle, and they did not stop, firing six shots on target and handing them their first defeat at home since September 2016.
Christiansen has to be pleased with how well his defence have played in this round so far after a shaky Gold Cup campaign, where they conceded seven goals in three matches.
They held the Costa Ricans without a shot on target in their opening match of this qualifying round and then conceded only six shots total in another shutout versus Jamaica.
Earning four points from two games puts this team in a decent position, but if they learned anything from their previous campaign, it would be not to get too comfortable, as they were in the same spot in the final stage of qualifying for the 2018 finals before going winless in five straight games.
Playing probably the toughest team in CONCACAF next in Mexico could be just what they need to maintain their focus, as you would not think that they would be overlooking a side who they have not beaten in a competitive game since 2013, not to mention the fact that they have only scored three goals against El Tri in their last 10 encounters with them.
After two games in this qualifying stage, Gerardo Martino and his Mexican side have taken care of business, winning both of their matches quite comfortably.
They have only allowed two shots on target in both of their games so far, and even though each of those victories were only by a single goal, they rarely looked vulnerable in transition or susceptible to conceding.
Mexico have been at this point of qualifying so many times that it has almost become like a routine day at the office for them, and they instinctively always seem to know what to do, and so far, there is no reason to believe that this team will not be on the path to another finals appearance.
In the final stage of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, the Mexicans were humbled by Panama in their second game, as they were held to zero shots on target in Panama City, firing only six shots total, despite having 72% of the possession.
Mexico will likely expect a defensive-minded approach once again from the Panamanians on Wednesday, but they should be well-equipped to deal with it given that most of their regulars are available, and they faced seemingly a wall of defenders behind the ball in their first two matches at the Gold Cup.
El Tri have usually been able to make it beyond this stage of qualifying quite comfortably, though it is not uncommon to see them suffer an early setback.
If they can win this game, it would mark the first time that this side have won their opening three matches in the final qualifying round since their 1978 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Striker Cecilio Waterman scored the third goal for Panama versus Jamaica on Sunday, as he leads the team with four in the qualifying stages, while Andres Andrade scored his first international goal in only his 11th appearance for the senior side and Rolando Blackburn picked up his first of this campaign.
Luis Mejia stopped all three shots that he faced for his second successive clean sheet, and Azmahar Ariano came on as a substitute in their last match, making his first appearance at this stage of the competition and earning only his sixth international cap.
Adalberto Carrasquilla and Eric Davis each picked up an assist in their match against Jamaica, while Yoel Barcenas made a second successive start in the midfield and his third appearance for the national team.
On Sunday, Mexican keeper Guillermo Ochoa collected his first clean sheet since June 30, when his side defeated Panama in a friendly, 3-0.
In that same encounter, defender Cesar Montes scored his first international goal, while Henry Martin has developed a knack for scoring late goals, netting in the 90th minute in that friendly with Panama and getting the winner in their opening game victory last week versus Jamaica.
Julio Cesar Dominguez took the place of Jorge Sanchez in their match against Costa Rica, while Andres Guardado, Carlos Rodriguez and Jesus Corona replaced Roberto Alvarado, Sebastian Cordova and Luis Romo.
Panama possible starting lineup:
Mejia; Davis, Andrade, Escobar, Murillo; Godoy; Ayarza, Barcenas, Carrasquilla, Yanis; Blackburn
Mexico possible starting lineup:
Ochoa; Gallardo, Araujo, Montes, Sanchez; Alvarez; Alvarado, Guardado, Rodriguez, Corona, Funes Mori
We say: Panama 0-0 Mexico
Look for the Mexicans to have the bulk of the possession, with several Panama players likely to be surrounding them for most of the game.
They did not show it in the Gold Cup, but Panama are actually quite comfortable and capable of defending, and they can do it effectively as they have done in this qualifying campaign, already maintaining six clean sheets.
Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats up until an hour before kickoff, suggested the most likely outcome of this match was a Mexico win with a probability of 51.85%. A draw had a probability of 24.7% and a win for Panama had a probability of 23.44%.
The most likely scoreline for a Mexico win was 0-1 with a probability of 11.64%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome were 1-2 (9.57%) and 0-2 (9.49%). The likeliest drawn scoreline was 1-1 (11.75%), while for a Panama win it was 1-0 (7.21%). The actual scoreline of 1-1 was predicted with an 11.8% likelihood.