It was another action-packed night in the North, Central American and Caribbean zone, as the home sides prevailed. Mexico fought hard to recover from an early deficit and earn a 2-1 victory over USA at the Estadio Azteca, as Trinidad and Tobago managed to hold on in Port of Spain to disappoint struggling El Salvador 1-0. Honduras capped the night with an energetic performance, notching no less than four goals to surprise top-of-the-table Costa Rica. Join FIFA.com for a closer look at all the evening's action from CONCACAF.
Match of the day
Mexico 2-1 USA
Charlie Davies (9), Israel Castro (19), Miguel Sabah (81)
Mexico came from behind to defeat rivals USA 2-1 in their crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier, propelled by punishing strikes from Israel Castro and super-sub Miguel Sabah. USA took the lead in the ninth minute as Charlie Davies finished a counter-attack to slot home at the far post. However, Mexico soon drew level as Castro's long-range shot crashed in off the crossbar.
With nine minutes to play, Efraín Juárez made a great penetrating run which drew two defenders, opening up substitute Sabah who struck a hard volley into the top of the net. With the win El Tri stayed fourth in the region, but edged to within just one point of the top half of the table. Javier Aguirre's side are now back in the mix, but their work is not done, as an away date with leaders Costa Rica awaits on 5 September.
In other action
Cornell Glen's early goal was enough to give Trinidad and Tobago three points against El Salvador and reinvigorate their South Africa 2010 dream. The Soca Warriors notched their first victory in the six-nation qualifying group before an overwhelmingly partisan crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. With the result, they drew level with their opponents on five points at the bottom of the standings, four below Mexico.
Honduras put on an electric performance in San Pedro Sula, looking dangerous right from the start as they leapfrogged USA into second place by beating leaders Costa Rica 4-0. Carlos Costly started and finished the lesson, with Carlos Pavon and Melvin Valladares adding to the tally for Honduras, who are now two points behind the Ticos and above the USA on goal difference. Costly caught the Costa Rica defence napping to head home the opener in the first half and from then on there was no way back for the visitors.
The top three teams in North, Central America and the Caribbean earn automatic qualifying berths to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, while the fourth-placed team will face a two-leg play-off against the fifth-placed finisher in South America for the final berth.
Player of the day - Carlos Costly (HON)
Carlos Costly of Honduras was the leading scorer of the day, finding the net twice [31, 90] as his side rolled over Costa Rica. His active play nearly yielded several more for his side, as he repeatedly danced with the ball deep in the Ticos territory before sending searching passes across the goalmouth for his team-mates.
What they said
"We found it very difficult to settle on the field in the opening minutes and the United States took advantage," said Mexico defender Carlos Salcido. "Then, we became calmer, building our offensive play and our goals finally came."
"We know we're a great team and I think we have what it takes to win here, but today we were a little bit unlucky," said USA forward Charlie Davies, on whether his side's failure to capitalise on their early lead was a missed opportunity. "They were able to control most of the game with possession, and I think that's what hurt us."
1 - The number of goals that the three visiting teams were able to muster in 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying action in the North, Central American and Caribbean zone.