Ricardo Clark's 62nd minute goal lifted the United States to a 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago Wednesday, putting the Americans on the verge of securing a 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ berth.
The United States now have 16 points with two matches remaining in the six-nation final 'hexagonal' round of qualifying in the North, Central American and Caribbean zone. While they are closing in on a trip to the finals in South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago were officially eliminated.
The Americans gained three needed points thanks to Clark's powerful, swerving shot from 30 yards out, which eluded the outstretched arms of Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Clayton Ince.
"We have a little bit of space in a tight final group now and that's important," USA scorer Clark said after the game. "We need to get the full three points from our next two games and that will put us in South Africa for sure."
The day started with the top four teams - Honduras, the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica - separated by just one point.
Later Wednesday, Mexico hosted Honduras and El Salvador hosted Costa Rica. El Salvador and Trinidad and Tobago, who both started the day on five points, had to win to avoid elimination.
The top three teams advance directly to South Africa 2010, while the fourth-placed team plays off for a berth against the fifth-placed finisher from South America.