THE DAY REPLAYED - Mexico are the toast of CONCACAF group-stage qualifying for Russia 2018. Led by a pair of young subs, El Tri secured an historic road win to keep their record perfect. Costa Rica, quarter-finalists at Brazil 2014, are right on their heels with two wins from their two games. Jamaica, meanwhile, bounced back from a flop last week and USA drew drably in Port of Spain. FIFA.com reviews all the action from a topsy-turvy Tuesday in the New World.
Match of the day
Honduras 0-2 Mexico
Jesus Corona 67, Jurgen Damm 72
Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has his side humming in Group A. And he looked every inch a tactical genius when both his second-half substitutes, Jesus Corona and Jurgen Damm, scored in the space of five minutes to beat Honduras on the road. It’s the first win for Mexico in 50 years in the notorious city of San Pedro Sula. And while the Mexicans – reigning CONCACAF champions – cruise in style with six points from two games, Honduras are in the doldrums with a pair of losses. Coach Jorge Luis Pinto, who had so much success with Costa Rica, also lost midfielder Luis Garrido. The Houston Dynamo player suffered the kind of sickening broken leg you never want to see on a football pitch.
Canada keep firm hold of second place behind Mexico after an uneventful goalless stalemate against El Salvador at the Cuscatlan.
Jamaica bounced back from a shock opening-day loss at home with a 1-0 victory on the road in Port-Au-Prince against Haiti. Yorkshire-born Clayton Donaldson, making his full national team debut at 31, scored the only goal of a physical Group B contest.
Panama, on the other hand, failed to build on their opening-day win, losing out to Costa Rica 2-1 at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez in Panama City. Bryan Ruiz and Marcos Urena grabbed the goals for the Ticos who now sit atop the section and are steadily gaining steam.
USA stay top of Group C on goal difference after a dull 0-0 draw away to Trinidad and Tobago. The game never caught fire and the closest either side came to scoring was when Gyasi Zardes headed against the bar for the Stars and Stripes.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines suffered another heavy defeat. The island minnows, the lowest-ranked team left in the region's qualifying, were hammered 4-0 by Guatemala at their home stadium in the capital of Kingstown, just paces from the blue water of the Caribbean Sea.
Player of the day
Jesus Corona (Mexico)
The young Mexican star they call Tecatito has caused a sensation since making his debut last year. Only 22 years of age, the Porto starlet’s ability to cut in off the left and tease defenders, making them spin like toy tops, has him looking like the brightest shining star on a handsome Mexican horizon. He came off the bench to score El Tri’s first. The stunning right-foot volley he conjured from nothing might just be enough to earn him a starting spot.
10 - Minnows St. Vincent and the Grenadines are out of their depth in these group stages if the first two matchdays are any indication. A side comprised of all amateurs – a Coast Guard officer, a fisherman, and a schoolteacher among them – Vincy Heat are haemorrhaging goals. They conceded six against USA on Friday and four more against Guatemala, making it ten goals against in two games. Even in the early rounds, SVG struggled at the back, conceding seven in four games against Aruba and Guyana (but they scored ten back then).
Did you know?
USA and Trinidad and Tobago lined up at the Hasely Crawford Stadium 26 years on – almost to the day – from the most famous-ever meeting between the two sides. In 1989 it was the Americans who came out on top, with Paul Caligiuri looping home an unlikely volley to send the Stars and Stripes to their first world finals in 40 years. That night the stadium fell silent in despair, and it was largely silent again on Tuesday when the two played out an uninspired nil-all draw to remain joint-top of Group C.
What they said
“You never take off the national team shirt!” Mexico’s 125-cap skipper Andres Guardado to Jurgen Damm, who in the excitement of scoring his first goal for Mexico, stripped off his jersey and dropped it. Guardado, who knows what it means to bleed for the shirt, helped him put it back on.
Results (Round Four, Matchday 2)
Honduras 0-2 Mexico
El Salvador 0-0 Canada
Haiti 0-1 Jamaica
Panama 1-2 Costa Rica
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 0-4 Guatemala
Trinidad & Tobago 0-0 USA
25 March 2016
St. Vincent and the Grenadines-Trinidad and Tobago