From reading the reports on this match, I was reminded of Carlos Parreira's comments after the '94 Brazil-USA match when he said that 1-0 was not an accurate reflection of Brazil's dominance. McBride's goal barely two minutes in should have set the tone for the rest of the evening, but the remaining 88 minutes were an exercise in tentative play and futile shot-making. To compound a frustrating night, Convey was sent off near the end and will miss the clásico against Mexico. The lack of finishing has to be corrected before next summer, but a win's a win at this point, and the Americans are only a win away from their fifth consecutive World Cup finals. As for T&T, they played better in the second half despite losing Lawrence to a red card in the first half, but even so they are in a really difficult situation. However, one win against Guatemala can transform their chances. Dwight Yorke is lobbying for permanent duties in midfield, but is he the man for the job? Judging from the rest of the contenders in the center of the field, T&T may not have much of a choice.
Mexico 2-0 Costa Rica
Mexico got a large measure of revenge for four years ago, but had to wait over an hour to get on the scoreboard against an overly conservative Costa Rican team. Borgetti became the leading goal-scorer on the Mexican national team, passing Hermosillo and Luís Hernández when he took advantage of a ball that cleared the heads of the Tico defenders. Francisco Fonseca got the second goal in the dying minutes to secure all three points for Mexico. So now the winner of the USA-Mexico match will secure qualification, and a draw could qualify both if Costa Rica or Guatemala fail to win their next matches. In Costa Rica, some in the press are asking if the cortoplacismo of the federation is the root of the Ticos' inconsistent play. Oh, you think?? I'd say it's the biggest impediment to success throughout Central American soccer.
Yellow card news...Pardo was booked and will miss the clásico against the USA; and Wanchope will miss Costa Rica's match against Panama.
Guatemala 2-1 Panama
The two sides of emotion in sport. And to think that I was only seconds away from calling the matches exactly right. I thought that this match would be critical to the final outcome of the Hexagonal, and what a thrilling match it was. Panama took the lead on the feet of Jorge Dely Valdes, 38 years young. But the match turned when Medina was sent off, then Ruíz grabbed the equalizer and in stoppage time Romero launched a missile of a shot past Penedo. A most dramatic finish that puts Guatemala in the thick of the qualifying chase and leaves Panama with the barest of chances. The chapines must keep accumulating as many points as possible before the final clash against Costa Rica, and the players know that they still need to improve.
So after six matches (Points and Goal difference, head-to-head 1st tiebreaker):
Mexico 16 +8
USA 15 +9
Costa Rica 7 -4
Guatemala 7 0
T&T 4 -6
Panama 2 -7