AP Photo/Arnulfo FrancoGraham Zusi of the U.S

U.S. victory keeps Mexico alive in hunt for World Cup berth

Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson scored in second-half stoppage time, and the United States rallied for a 3-2 win at Panama on Tuesday night that left Mexico’s World Cup hopes alive and knocked out the Panamanians.

The U.S., which clinched a World Cup berth last month, didn’t use most of its starters, and Gabriel Torres put Panama ahead in the 18th minute in a downpour at Panama City. Michael Orozco tied it the 64th minute, just as Costa Rica took a 2-1 lead at home against Mexico.

Luis Tejada scored in the 83rd, putting Panama within minutes of a fourth-place finish and a berth in next month’s playoff against Oceania champion New Zealand. Mexico, which last missed the World Cup in 1990, would have been eliminated, but now will play New Zealand with a spot in the World Cup on the line.

But Zusi scored 1:24 into three minutes of stoppage time, and Johannsson added his first international goal at the 2:40 mark to seal the U.S. win and Panama’s elimination. The Americans, who have lost just once in their last 16 games, finished with a record-tying 22 points in the hexagonal, the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.

The U.S. (7-2-1) and Costa Rica (5-2-3) already had clinched berths last month, and Honduras (4-3-3) earned the region’s final automatic spot with a 2-2 tie at last-place Jamaica (0-5-5).

Mexico (2-3-5) finished fourth with 11 points, three ahead of Panama (1-4-5), which has never played in soccer’s top event.

Elsewhere, England and defending champion Spain qualified for the World Cup along with Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Chile and Ecuador earned the final two automatic spots from South America.

Just Posted

Showdown looms over ‘contentious’ proposal to compel homeless into treatment

Unclear if Conservatorship legislation has votes to win approval by the Board of Supervisors

Court rules Uber must turn over data on driver congestion, double parkers to San Francisco

City sought information from company to help respond to traffic impacts

Massive police response for possible active shooter in Potrero Hill appears to be false alarm

Search of building has found no evidence of shots fired or located any victims

Facing scrutiny, Mayor Breed says she’s ‘not okay’ with police raids on journalists

‘The more we learn, the less appropriate it looks to me,’ mayor says of SFPD action

Photos: Sun comes out for Bay to Breakers 2019

The forecast predicted rain for Sunday’s seven-mile-long day drinking extravaganza, Bay to… Continue reading

Most Read