Only five places remain up for grabs in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying hexagonal.
Mexico became the first nation to clinch a place in the final qualifying round, topping Costa Rica 1-0 at Estadio Azteca Tuesday night on the strength of a 60th-minute Javier Hernandez header. With the win, Mexico improved to a perfect 4-0-0 and assured itself of finishing atop Group B regardless of the outcome of the final two matches.
The second spot in Group B is very much up in the air, as El Salvador crept a point ahead of Costa Rica with a 3-2 win over upstart Guyana. Rafael Burgos' 76th-minute winner broke a 2-2 tie between the two sides that combined for nine goals in their two matches Friday and Tuesday.
In other CONCACAF qualifying matches Tuesday:
DE ROSARIO HURT IN CANADA LOSS
Canada's optimism after defeating Panama on Friday has quickly subsided.
D.C. United captain Dwayne De Rosario injured his knee and was forced to come off in the 6th minute, and Canada never recovered, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat to Los Canaleros in Panama City. Rolando Blackburn and FC Dallas striker Blas Perez scored on either side of halftime to deliver a victory that puts Panama on top of Group B and sends Canada into third place after a brief time atop the group.
According to multiple reports, De Rosario will be undergoing an MRI on his knee to determine the severity of the injury.
RUIZ GOAL LIFTS GUATEMALA INTO FIRST-PLACE TIE WITH USA
Carlos Ruiz' knack for coming through in the clutch for Guatemala continues.
Ruiz' highlight-reel volley midway through the first half was the difference in Guatemala's 1-0 victory over Antigua and Barbuda, one that put Los Chapines level with the USA and Jamaica on seven points and even with the USA on goal differential.
Guatemala faces Jamaica and the USA in the final games of group play next month, hosting the Reggae Boyz Oct. 12 before traveling to Livestrong Sporting Park for the finale against the Americans.
HONDURAS ELIMINATES CUBA
Cuba became the first team eliminated from the semifinal round after a 1-0 loss to Honduras in San Pedro Sula. New England Revolution striker Jerry Bengtson scored against Cuba for the second time in five days to provide the match-winner, as Los Catrachos used the victory to pull level with Canada on points but get the edge on goal differential for second place.
CONCACAF QUALIFYING STANDINGS
1. United States, 7 points, +2 GD
2. Guatemala, 7 points, +2 GD
3. Jamaica, 7 points, +1 GD
4. Antigua and Barbuda, 1 point, -5 GD
1. Mexico, 12 points, +6 GD
2. El Salvador, 5 points, 0 GD
3. Costa Rica, 4 points, +1 GD
4. Guyana, 1 point, -7 GD
1. Panama, 9 points, +4 GD
2. Honduras, 7 points, +2, GD
3. Canada, 7 points, 0 GD
4. Cuba, 0 points, -6 GD
What did you think of Tuesday's results? Impressed at how Mexico has handled group play? Do you think Canada has a shot at getting past either Panama or Honduras and qualifying for the Hex? Who do you see winning the important Guatemala-Jamaica Group A matchup next month?
Share your thoughts below.