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

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

World Cup Qualifying

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

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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:

MEXICO TOPS GUYANA

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.

CANADA WINS AT CUBA

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.

EL SALVADOR, COSTA RICA PLAY TO DRAW

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.

PANAMA SILENCES HONDURAS

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.

LOOKING AHEAD

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

GROUP A

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)

TUESDAY

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

Guatemala vs. United States, 10 p.m.

GROUP B

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)

TUESDAY

Guyana vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m.

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

GROUP C

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)

TUESDAY

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

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

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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.

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