There was a bit of legend embedded in every inch of MAPFRE Stadium. Under the floodlights in Columbus, Ohio, the United States somehow managed to beat bitter rival Mexico by a 2-0 margin time and time again in recent years.
In fact, the U.S. has defeated Mexico by this specific scoreline eight times since 2000, and four of those victories happened in Columbus.
The frequency of this specific scoreline - whether coincidental or divinely inspired - crafted a myth, dubbed by U.S. fans as "Dos a Cero," Spanish for "Two to Zero."
However, on Friday night, in a crucial World Cup qualifier against El Tri, the Stars and Stripes could not replicate the results of the past, succumbing to a 2-1 loss and snapping supporters back to the grim realm of reality.
The legend of "Dos a Cero" was broken, the magic gone, and captain Michael Bradley knows now, as ever, that there is work to be done.
"We've talked, many times, about the idea that playing Mexico here - we have no divine right to win," Bradley told reporters after the match. "It still means that on the day or on the night we have to play well and make plays and do enough to tilt the bar in our favor. Probably when you look at tonight on a whole, we didn't do that.
As it stands, the United States sit fourth in the fifth round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, a round known as "The Hex" as it pits the remaining six teams against one another in a single group.
It's still early; the Hex has only just kicked off and each team has played just a single match. It's why Bradley says his team's objective remains the same, regardless of the opening result against Mexico.
Bradley explained: "We're disappointed (but) ultimately it doesn't change the end game here, which is to qualify for the World Cup."