September 9 – Emphatic wins for Canada and the US in the third matches of the Concacaf World Cup qualifying final round, have put them back in touching distance of group leaders Mexico who managed a draw in their third game in this international window.
Just two points separate the top four teams with Panama’s 1-1 draw with Mexico putting them on five points alongside Canada and the US.
It was the impressive four goal comeback by the US, away to Honduras, that was perhaps the most notable of the results in another tense night of Concacaf qualifying.
Having opened with two draws, the US were staring down the barrel of World Cup qualifying disaster at half time in San Pedro Sula. Honduras had dominated the first half and had gone in at the break a goal up, scored by Brayan Mora.
This was never going to be an easy fixture for the US, but they began the second half with conviction and were level on 48 minutes via a goal from Antonee Robinson. This was followed up by goals from Ricardo Pepi, Brenden Aaronson and Sebastian Lletget to allow them what was in the end a comfortable win.
With eight teams competing in the ‘octagonal’ final qualifier for Qatar 2022, a three point gap has opened up between the top four teams and the bottom four. The top three teams qualify automatically with the fourth going into the inter-confederation play-off.
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While it is only three games in, it is nevertheless significant as both Honduras and Costa Rica find themselves in that bottom four – they have been for some time been two of Concacaf’s top four nations.
Canada are very much the new kids on the block and proving they intend to stay. They had an emphatic 3-0 win over El Salvador have drawn their first two matches.
Panama are also showing that their 2018 World Cup appearance might not have been a one-hit wonder. They drew 1-1 with Mexico but could easily have taken all three points having taken the lead through Rolando Blackburn before Jesus Corona equalised for the Mexicans on 76 minutes.
In the other game of the night, Jamaica managed their first point with a 1-1 away win in Costa Rica. It was hard fought and creditably point for the Jamaicans who relied on home-grown players having previously seen their imported stars brushed aside at home by Panama.
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