World Cup Qualifying

CONCACAF World Cup qualifying: Jamaica keeps pace with USA and more


When the U.S. men's national team faces Guatemala Tuesday night, it will be facing a somewhat desperate side coming off a disappointing opening to CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

Jamaica handed Guatemala a 2-1 loss Saturday night behind goals from Demar Phillips and Toronto FC striker Ryan Johnson to keep pace with the Americans atop the Group A standings. The win came at a bit of a cost for the Reggae Boyz, who lost Montreal Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts to a leg injury midway through the first half.

Phillips opened the scoring for Jamaica soon after, firing a blast in the 40th minute, and Johnson doubled the advantage just six minutes after halftime to help stretch Jamaica's unbeaten streak against Guatemala to 13 games.

Substitute Dwight Pezzarossi scored a late consolation goal for Guatemala, which has not scored against the United States since 2000 — a span of eight matches.

Here's how the other opening matches of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying played out over the weekend and a look ahead to Tuesday's next round of games:


For U.S. national team fans unsatisfied with the 3-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda, they can take solace in the fact that Mexico topped an overmatched opponent at home by the very same scoreline.

Carlos Salcido and Giovani Dos Santos scored early on to remove most doubt and propel El Tri to a three-point haul. Javier Hernandez hit a shot that resulted in an own goal in the 51st minute and gave Mexico a 3-0 lead.

Guyana pulled one back through a Hector Moreno own goal, as the Mexico defender put one in the back of his own net in the 62nd minute to slice into the hosts' advantage.


Winning on the road during World Cup qualifying has not been something Canada has been able to do with relative success, but on the heels of a 0-0 draw with the United States, the Canadians earned an important road result to kick off the semifinal round of qualifying. 

Olivier Occean's goal accounted for all the scoring in Canada's 1-0 victory over Cuba, with the visitors overcoming a red card to goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld to hold on to their advantage and pick up the three points. 

Occean scored in the 54th minute, heading home a ball from David Edgar, but Canada's fortunes appeared to have changed soon after, when Hirschfeld was sent off for a handball outside the area. Cuba could not take advantage of having an extra man, though, and fell with a road match against Panama looming on Tuesday.


The fight behind Mexico for second place in Group B figures to be fierce, and El Salvador and Costa Rica started off that fight with a stalemate, playing to a 2-2 draw. El Salvador battled back from a 2-0 deficit to earn the road result, getting goals from Isidro Gutierrez and Osael Romero to salvage a result after things looked bleak early on.

Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio and Arsenal's Joel Campbell scored in the 10th and 15th minutes, respectively, to put Los Ticos on track at Estadio Nacional before they unraveled to miss out on an opportunity for three points.


Perhaps the most impressive result of Saturday's opening matches of the round was Panama's 2-0 victory over Honduras in San Pedro Sula. FC Dallas striker Blas Perez accounted for both goals in the second half to lift Panama to the top of Group C and put Los Catrachos in an early hole.


Here are the current standings and schedule for Tuesday's next round of matches:


1. United States (1-0-0, 3 points, +2 GD)

2. Jamaica (1-0-0, 3 points, +1 GD)

3. Guatemala (0-1-0, 0 points, -1 GD)

4. Antigua and Barbuda (0-1-0, 0 points, -2 GD)


Antigua and Barbuda vs. Jamaica, 7 p.m.

Guatemala vs. United States, 10 p.m.


1. Mexico (1-0-0, 3 points, +2 GD)

2. El Salvador (0-0-1, 1 point, 0 GD)

3. Costa Rica (0-0-1, 1 point, 0 GD)

4. Guyana (0-1-0, 0 points, -2 GD)


Guyana vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m.

El Salvador vs. Mexico, 9:30 p.m.


1. Panama (1-0-0, 3 points, +2 GD)

2. Canada (1-0-0, 3 points, +1 GD)

3. Cuba (0-1-0, 0 points, -1 GD)

4. Honduras (0-1-0, 0 points, -2 GD)


Canada vs. Honduras, 7:45 p.m.

Panama vs. Cuba, 9:05 p.m.


What did you think of Saturday's opening matches? Which teams do you think are facing some early pressure to bounce back? Which teams impressed you the most?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Milkshake of Despair

    Can someone or SBI please start an online petition and boycott of the pay-per-view only of tomorrow night’s WCQ game for the USMNT because Traffic Sports is to greedy and stupid to sell the US broadcast rights?


  • Shane

    Milkshake, maybe you should ask why an American network wasnt willing to pay enough to secure the broadcast rights. Maybe they’re the greedy ones.


  • Nate

    Let’s just hope that by the WC we’ll be able to stream all the games straight to our iPad 5s over SuperWiMaxFi 5G.


  • Stephen

    Wait…what? They’re greedy because they didn’t pick up the rights? I guess you’re greedy if you won’t spend money? This comment is making my head hurt.


  • bryan

    no. this is clearly Guatemala asking an insane price. if not a single US network is willing to pick it up, that says something. Traffic Sports is a ridiculous organization and i am not surprised they picked up the rights so they could turn around and sell it PPV. it doesn’t make sense for a network to do that since they have their own channels. but for Traffic, they stand a good chance to at least get something out of it since it is like $20 per TV or something.

    either way, it sucks.


  • damn ppv

    what are the chances we will be able to watch somewhere online? since it’s ppv, does that make it less likely?


  • PD

    You know I watched the Antigua-Barbuda game again last night and I have to say the US looked a LOT sharper than we were initially giving them credit for. Taking away the pre-match expectations and simply looking at the on-field performances (and considering it was 90 percent humidity and raining on a two-day waterlogged pitch) the speed of play, confidence in possession, comfort on passing and creativity in attack (barring the fact that it took awhile to shoot from distance), on the whole was incredibly strong.

    Full marks to A-B for offering a composed and disciplined CONCACAF-style defending. Plus there was a goal-line clearance and a post rattler, it could have easily been a 5-1 result. Plus, there were several tackles committed by AB that were clearly card-able that they were fortunate to not even get a whistle.

    Yes, there were a few lapses late in the match (the goal was a total hash-Goodson overplayed his line, Onyewu overplayed his line, Howard committed too early) and there is room for improvement, but overall it was a strong match and the resulting scoreline was fair and respectable.

    It’s good to have high expectations of what we want of our national team, but I think we don’t do ourselves or the team any favors when we fail to account for the performance of the opponent or look beyond the scoreline.

    I hope to see a quick tempo, consistent passing and creative combinations as well as a steady defense against the Guats (and that no one gets shot). I am concerned that Gooch has had some lapses, but I think he’ll be able to play out of the funk. Hopefully Johnson will be fit to go.


    60+: Boyd for Altidore,
    tactical: Jones for Edu (while I want his toughness on the pitch, I’m afraid Jones will be a card liability).


  • The Imperative Voice

    Facts seem kind of fuzzy, all due respect: “U.S. Soccer and its broadcast partners had discussions with Traffic Sports to purchase the rights, but in the end Traffic Sports opted to distribute the match on pay-per-view in the United States.”

    In other words, cutting the bull, US broadcasters had an opportunity to buy the rights. So while I blame Trafiic for their greed I also feel like NBC/ Fox/ ABC all deserve their share of the blame for not stepping up. Apparently massive events are worth hundreds of millions and gimmick friendlies and tour games are worth their airtime, but an actual qualifier is somehow too expensive. In particular, how much money does ESPN have to make, does the network spending tens of millions on World Cup and Euro not owe us a little USA? Drop in the bucket in terms of their rights fees, sorry.


  • The Imperative Voice

    “Clearly?” Have ESPN tell us a number.

    It’s worth noting they’ll spend tons of money on World Cup, Euro, EPL, friendly tours by European teams, US friendlies leading up to qualifiers…..but then not pay for all the qualifiers themselves.

    FWIW, as part of the Euro package:
    “ESPN also said it had obtained U.S. rights to numerous Euro qualifiers, including home games of Spain, Germany, France and the Netherlands, as well as games involving England, Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Portugal.”

    Ironic, if you think about it.

    I think the fans are getting caught between Traffic and the domestic broadcasters in their little power struggle. Ideally CONCACAF would get us out of the bind, but….


  • Spectra

    The last time it happened I found several really sucky feeds but it turned out the sucky feeds were the same as the real broadcats. SO I expect to find an online feed but certainly don’t expected a decent broadcast


  • HoboMike

    Milkshake, let me know when and where to sign. Until then, I’ll be at a bar tomorrow watching the game.


  • bryan

    Yeah, to me, I think it’s pretty clear. You can attack ESPN all you, but not even GolTV wanted the rights to this game…and they’ll take anything they can get. But seriously, not a single ESPN channel, not a single Fox channel (including their soccer specific channels), not a single SPANISH channel, not a single NBC channel, or GolTV purchased the rights. If that isn’t pretty clear, than I don’t know what is. I, too, would like to see the numbers and frankly, I’m not sure why USSF won’t release them. Maybe Guatemala has something that says the potential buyers can’t show what they were charging for the rights, but if that isn’t the case, USSF should post it.

    As for ESPN and what you said, that does not surprise me. Those Euro teams probably aren’t asking insane amounts of money and ESPN can actually market those games and sell ad time to companies and make up their investment. It’s all about ROI. Would it be great if ESPN, and all the others, said screw the ROI if it’s a USMNT game? Absolutely. But, sadly, that isn’t realistic.

    As for your last point, we’re getting caught between two FAs IMO; Guatemala and the USSF. Guatemala is likely asking way too much for the rights while the USSF is playing hardball and refusing to offer the money (because they know none of the networks are going to buy). So Traffic just came in and said, “well, if no one else is going to buy the rights, we will and we’ll just charge $20 a pop for PPV access.”

    I agree with you about CONCACAF, they’re likely going to have to step in if we want to prevent this in the future. But as you allude to, that’s a big “but”…


  • bryan

    i have not. i’d like an update on the team in general. no new videos or anything since friday.


  • bryan

    just saw an interview on another website:

    “Torres: Everything is coming along great. It was just a tough tackle in the last game. It’s part of the game. The recovery is going great so I’m not too worried. I look to be back on the field soon”


  • cj

    I saw a listing that it will be tape delayed on ESPN deportes. Is that correct? Oh yeah it is on Wed


  • The Imperative Voice

    All due respect but this seems to happen about once or twice a cycle, and the billion-dollar-per-quarter revenues at ESPN (8% of Disney’s Q1 revenues of $10.5b) as well as their willingness to pay hundreds of millions for soccer rights fees in other contexts suggests they could easily afford to pay a little more for an isolated game like this.

    You also toss around ROI like they wouldn’t be airing commercials, or like they couldn’t factor in Guatemala as almost advertising for the eventual World Cup. For that matter, perish the thought a company with annual revenues in the tens of billions lets one project in with a potentially negative ROI, just because it’s the right thing to do when claiming you’re the place to watch soccer. I mean how absurd is buying the friendlies but not the qualifier?


  • divers suck

    It really is Guatemalas loss due to their own greed. They are losing out on the chance to showcase their own team to a far broader audience. I don’t blame USA Networks for not giving in to what amounts to a ridiculous ransom…I’ll find a stream or a bar somewhere to watch it.


  • Pete

    Entirely different petition: “0-0-1” should equate to 0 points, not 1. To get one point, a team’s record should read “0-1-0.”


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