Honduras booked passage to the group stages of CONCACAF qualifying after a 2-2 draw on Saturday with Puerto Rico saw them win out 6-2 on aggregate. Costa Rica hardly fared as well, drawing 2-2 away to Grenada while Suriname beat fancied Guyana 1-0 and Guatemala hammered St' Lucia 6-0.
A brave performance by the Puerto Ricans in San Juan was not enough to keep Honduras from making their 4-0 result in the first leg count. Despite drawing 2-2 on the night, Reinaldo Rueda's Hondurans will be moving on to the next stage after a 6-2 aggregate win.
Inter Milan's David Suazo opened the scoring after 23 minutes, but Puerto Rico's Chris Megaloudis hit back in the 32nd. The hosts then took a shock lead through Peter Enrique Villegas just four minutes before the interval and Wilson Palacios rounded out the scoring and drew the visitors level in the 52nd minute.
"This is a great result for us," Rueda said after the game. "Puerto Rico have shown much improvement of late and we are just happy to be moving on."
Costa Rica needed a comeback and even then could only manage a 2-2 draw against Grenada in their CONCACAF second round qualifying first leg. Patrick Modeste opened the scoring 20 minutes in and Blackburn Rovers ace Jason Roberts made it a two-goal lead seven minutes later before Armando Alonso cut the deficit in the 42nd minute and Junior Diaz equalised, much to the relief of the visitors, in the 75th.
"We weren't as bad as the score suggests," said
Costa Rica coach Hernan Medford after the game. "We do need to
improve, though, and play better in the second leg, but we
weren't terrible tonight."
Suriname pulled off a minor shock of their own in Saturday's early game by beating neighbours Guyana 1-0 in Paramaribo in their first leg match. The Guyanese were one of the 12 seeded teams in the region, but looked a shadow of themselves in their first qualifier.
Domestic-based Clifton Sandvliet, playing in his 67th game for Suriname, popped up unmarked in the 53rd minute to grab the only goal of the contest and keep up the team's form after eliminating Montserrat 7-1 over two legs in the last round.
Saturday's last match saw Guatemala give tiny St. Lucia a lesson in finishing, winning out 6-0. LA Galaxy striker Carlos 'El Pescadito' Ruiz grabbed himself no less than four goals after Freddy Garcia opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Abner Trigueros notched the other goal for the Chapines, who look in good shape heading into their second leg on the island.
Sunday 15 June
Trinidad and Tobago-Bermuda
Tuesday 17 June
Antigua and Barbuda-Cuba
The all-important return legs take place next week between 18 and 22 June