Honduras 2 (Costly 77, Bengtson 80)
Mexico 2 (Hernandez 28, 54)
Late goals from Carlo Costly and Jerry Bengtson saw Honduras rally for a stunning draw with Mexico. Costly’s header in the 77th minute and Bengtson’s 80th-minute blast — off the rebound from his own saved penalty attempt — cancelled out a pair of goals from Javier Hernandez.
Hernandez opened the scoring in the 28th, heading in a cross from the hard-working Andres Guardado on the left. He doubled Mexico’s lead in the 54th, eluding the defenders in front of the goal to slot home a set-piece delivery from Carlos Salcido. Honduras had few true scoring chances before Costly rose to head in a corner kick in the 77th.
Minutes later, Costly drew a foul in the penalty area and Bengtson stepped up to take the kick. Guillermo Ochoa dived to his right for the save, but pushed the ball straight back to Bengtson who belted the equaliser past the helpless keeper. The draw left Honduras atop the table with four points, one more than the United States.
Regional powerhouse Mexico, meanwhile, remain in search of a first win after two matches, having been held to a goalless draw when hosting Jamaica last month. Mexico were level on two points with Jamaica and Panama.
The top three teams from the region advance to the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, while the fourth place team plays off against top Oceania team New Zealand for a berth.
Jamaica 1 (Elliott 22)
Panama 1 (Henriquez 65)
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz played Panama to a 1-1 tie Friday night at Kingston’s Independence Park.
Marvin Elliott got things started for Jamaica, scoring on a header in the 22nd minute. Panama did not notch a goal until Luis Henriquez put one past Donovan Ricketts in the 65th minute, but that evened the score, and that’s the way it remained.
Jamaicans, Demar Phillips, Jermaine Beckford and Omar Daley received yellow cards. Panama’s Gabriel Gomez, Marcos Sanchez and Alberto Quintero also received yellow cards. Coming into the match, Jamaica was ranked 54th in the world, second in the Caribbean to Haiti, while Panama was ranked 41st in the world, according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings.
United States 1 (Dempsey 16)
Costa Rica 0
The United States overcame wintry conditions to outlast Costa Rica and win 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, earning three crucial points during the second matchday of the World Cup qualifying Hexagonal stage.
Wearing all-white uniforms to celebrate U.S. Soccer’s centennial, the Stars and Stripes got off to an ideal start when Clint Dempsey was the man on the spot to tap in a deflected shot at the 16th minute. The U.S. had entered the game as the only team remaining to not earn a point in matchday one but will now enter next Tuesday’s much-anticipated road match against Mexico on a high note.
Dempsey was named captain for this month’s two qualifiers after coach Jurgen Klinsmann decided to leave Carlos Bocanegra off the roster, and he was certainly a leader for the injury-depleted squad. The Spurs forward started alongside Jozy Altidore up front and the pair worked together to create the Americans’ only goal of the night. Altidore’s shot from the top of the box deflected off Costa Rican defender Roy Miller and Dempsey was in the right place at the right time to push it past the goal line.
It was Dempsey’s 12th career goal in World Cup qualifying, tying him with Landon Donovan for the most qualifying goals in U.S. Soccer history. Dempsey has seven goals in the 2014 World Cup qualifying cycle. The U.S. came very close to adding one more before halftime as Dempsey received the ball in the box on two occasions. He appeared to be taken down by Roy Miller of the New York Red Bulls, but the referee decided not to blow the whistle.
With the weather getting worse throughout the match, the ref nearly made a decision to halt the game after stopping play in the 55th minute to speak with coaches and players. The lines on the field were barely visible despite the the ground crew working to shovel the pitch throughout the match. If the match had been called off, the teams would have played the remainder of the game within the next 48 hours. All statistics would have stood as the teams would have picked up at the minute it left off.
After the short break, Costa Rica nearly got the opportunity it had been searching for all night. The visitors appeared to have tied things up after Alvaro Saborío beat goalkeeper Brad Guzan, but the play was called offside. Replays suggest that he may have been onside after all.
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