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CONCACAF Rewind: Mexico goalless again in draw with Costa Rica; Honduras bounces back with win over Jamaica



After another draw in which they failed to find the back of the net, the members of the Mexican national team hoped to change their World Cup Qualifying fate Tuesday night in their return to the famed Estadio Azteca.

But after 90+ minutes of scoreless action, El Tri was left with more questions than answers heading into next week’s Confederations Cup campaign.

Mexico played out a scoreless draw with former HEX leaders Costa Rica, giving them three 0-0 finishes in three home matches in this final round of CONCACAF qualifying. Fans booed and called for the firing of manager Jose Manuel De la Torre as time ran out on Tuesday evening, just hours before the team’s scheduled departure for Brazil.

While Mexico pushed hard for a way to end their home goal drought, Costa Rica looked closer to scoring for most of the match on Tuesday. Joel Campbell had a busy yet frustrating night in front of goal, cracking the post with a shot just four minutes in and firing a dangerous shot to goalkeeper Jose Corona midway through the first half.

The misfiring Mexico offense had a handful chances to break the deadlock in the second half, but the visitors were the more dangerous team throughout. While Mexico’s best chance of the evening was deflected out just minutes after the break, Campbell’s side netting blast was one of several close calls for the home defense.

A match that started late due to Costa Rica travel issues ended with seven minutes of stoppage time. During the second half, a Bryan Ruiz corner kick was delayed for a lengthy period due to a number of home fans throwing objects at the Los Ticos captain.

With one more qualifier played than everyone except Jamaica, Mexico will know its full situation after next week’s round of qualifying. As it stands right now, third-place Mexico is two points behind the now-leading United States and trailing second-place Costa Rica on goal differential.

Elsewhere, Honduras reclaimed the playoff-bound fourth-place spot in the HEX table with a 2-0 home win over Jamaica.

Houston Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia gave the hosts the lead in the 10th minute, giving the last-place Reggae Boyz an uphill battle from the outset.

Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts kept his side in the match with a pair of top-notch saves, denying a determined Honduras squad from doubling their lead.

However, the veteran was doomed when the hosts finally found that second goal. A bad backpass ended at the feet of young striker Roger Rojas, who sealed Honduras’s win with an easy 88th-minute strike. Jamaica, who went down a man in the 76th minute on a second Adrian Mariappa yellow card, was unable to muster up any drama as the hosts celebrated a huge bounce-back victory.

Fourth-place Honduras now leads Panama by one point for the playoff spot in the table and is only behind Costa Rica and Mexico by one for a guaranteed ticket to Brazil 2014. Last-place Jamaica, on the other hand, is looking like an elimination lock with just two points and one more match played than everyone except Mexico.


What did you think of Friday’s matches? Do you feel like “Chepo” de la Torre is in real danger of losing his job? Stunned at Mexico’s continued offensive woes? Think Honduras can hold onto a qualifying spot? Any early predictions for next week’s CONCACAF qualifiers?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Personally, this is how I think the rest of the Hex is gonna play out. Mexico, surprises everyone and either wins or gets second at the Confederations Cup and gets their mojo back and goes on a tear and qualifies for the World Cup after a series of dominant performances. The US gets overconfident after beating arguably the two weakest sides of the Hex and either lose to or tie Honduras next week, lose to Costa Rica away and either draw or lose to a rejuvenated Mexico at home. Putting the US, in two must win games with Jamaica and Panama to qualify.

    • Another scenario is…
      1) Mexico gets distroyed in the Confed Cup. Fires their coach and strugles throught the GC with a new coach trying to fit the pieces together. Becomes rejuvenated after GC and picks up some enough points to qualify in 2nd place.
      2) US Ties Honduras on Tuesday. Putting us on 11 pts through 6 matches. During the GC current fringe players (Bedoya, Holden, Mixx) gain experience….Others regain their form & desire (Donovan, Boca, Gooch) making the “A” Team that much stronger and deeper.
      3) In fall Qualifiers the US team is fully rejuvenated/healthy and in form. Holden, Donovan, Cherundolo, Chandler, are all starters again. Strengthening the Defense and adding additional dynamics to the attack. US goes to CR and wins, beats a defeted Jamaica (already out of the tournament so fields a youth team to gain experience), and then defeats Panama in Panama to lock up 1st place in the Hex.
      I think this is a more likely scenario than the one you proposed.

      • 1.) I don’t think Mexico gets destroyed at the Confed Cup. They’re problem isn’t defensive, it’s offensive. They just need one of their strikers to find their form and they’ll be fine.

        2.) The scenario you’re producing could actually be bad for the US. Right now Klinsmann as the right chemistry with the players he has. Adding more players to the mix could disrupt chemistry. I probably see one or two players being added to the US squad after the Gold Cup. Donovan and maybe Chandler or Holden. I’m also still not sold on the US defense. I think the Honduras game will be a better indication on where the US stands.

        3.) Again I think that would be a terrible idea. Klinsmann already has a good group of players starting. Adding all those players could disrupt chemistry. I could see some of them being added after qualifying is wrapped up, but not during.

        Also don’t think playing an already eliminated Jamaica would be an easy game. IF the US hasn’t locked up qualification by then, then they’ll be playing against a team with nothing to lose and that’s always a dangerous situation.

      • In neither items 2 or 3 am I advocating that JK mess with the overall chemistry of the team. Rather solidifying/strenghtening the team through the incorporation of better depth.
        The only player I’d advocate be replaced in the starting 11 would be Evans at RB with Dolo or Chandler. As he has been overmatched speed wise against both Jamaica and Panama.
        Bench wise having a Donovan, Bedoya, Mixx as options instead of say a Davis or Kljestan I see as an improvement and provides greater flexability. Same goes for having Chandler, Lichaj as options over a Parkhurst & Evans or evan Castillo. Better quality players brings the overall play of the team to a higher level.

      • Ah ok, I see your point. In that case yes that makes sense. I still think defense is the achilles heel of this team and better teams can exploit it.

  2. Someone said Mex was overrated …who was that? Oh yea me!
    Mexico can solve all their problems by having Bornstein line up at lb for everyone Mex faces in qualifying.
    The only player who lives up to his billing would be Corono which is ironic since Ochoa is the one that’s always been billed as a top goalie always “about to go Europe”
    All they have to do is beat Brazils B team in the confederations cup and they will be favorites to win the WC according to their fans.
    Would love to see them not qualify thou, humble pie is just what they need.

    • Ochoa is about to go to Europe? France is part of Europe anymore?

      How is that Brazil’s B team? Has Mexico ever beat a national team that isn’t a B team?

  3. If the Mexican players really wanted Ruiz to return to the corner and take the kick, one of them (Chicharito, perhaps) should have gone to the corner with Ruiz and just stood there while the kick was being taken, that would have stopped stuff from being thrown.

    Anyway, kind of reminded me of Giants Stadium for the Gold Cup final a few years back, with the Mexican fans hurling cups and bottles down from the upper deck. And that was a game Mexico won 5 – 0.

  4. I remain completely bewildered — though not surprised — by CONCACAF’s toleration of fan behavior that goes completely over the line. The nonsense at the Azteca last night is noteworthy only because somebody got lucky and actually hit Ruiz. What if that had been (as we have seen before in other CONCACAF nations) a battery or a coin? Remember Donovan’s stories of corner kicks at the Azteca in a shower of cups filled with urine or vomit? And how long before a green laser pointer affects a game? FIFA and UEFA have appropriately taken strong measures against offensive chants, banners, and gestures. Aren’t player safety and the integrity of the pitch important as well? All of this nonsense is within the control of the national federations; if they chose to take it seriously, they would. And if they don’t, CONCACAF can and should step in. But of course it won’t. We’ll hear some mealy-mouthed condemnation of a few bad apples, and life will go on. And CONCACAF will remain a joke, the football equivalent of a pro wrestling referee.

  5. Here is the video of fans throwing stuff, including a full plastic water bottle, at Ruiz. When Ruiz leaves the corner Mexico players are indignant and try to drag him back to the corner to get hit by more stuff. This sort of crowd behavior should not happen. Should be a big fine and Mexico’s next home game played an an empty stadium. Send a message.

    (And the corner came on a play where the Costa Rican — Number 8 — held the ball too long. he had an open goal two steps sooner but waited and a Mexican defender knocked the ball loose. Darn.

      • It’s sad because the Mexican nt used to roll over other nations so easily at Aztecs that throwing stuff at the likes of Costa Rica was unnecessary and saved only for Landon Donovan and the US (because the US started bossing Mexico in big games). Fans are pulling out all kinds of nasty tricks that go beyond cheering and chanting for your team as way of creating a home field advantage.

        On the other hand I wouldn’t be surprised if CR lodges a complaint with FIFA. They run to FIFA at a drop of a snowflake what about a water bottle?

  6. Maybe have the updated standings somewhere in the article? Just a friendly suggestion. Mainly because I hate going to CONCACAFs website.

  7. I don’t know a lot about journalism but I do know being accountable goes a long way.

    I made a completely constructive post and you felt the need to remove it because I questioned why the media, confederation and other nations aren’t acknowledging/addressing the issue of fans routinely throwing objects/liquids at opposing players on the pitch and opposing fans in the stadium, nearly every match at the Azteca.

    It’s your article. Do what you will.

    • oh please. Do you think the media has any control over that? The more the media talks about it, the more the idiots will throw stuff. Don’t turn this on Ives/the media.

      • I’m thinking that he meant that his post was deleted from the site.

        I’ve also had that happen to me.

      • First, Hobomike is correct. The original post was deleted.

        Secondly, if I need to explain how media can effect policy, public pressure or general outcomes on things that need to change…I’d be explaining it to deaf ears.

        Not surprisingly, “elgringoorico” would have an issue with my post.

  8. Will be interested to see if CONCACAF finally does anything to try and curtail fan violence towards players, I doubt it but you never know. Empty stadiums? Docked points? Only is a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt, imagine if a bottle hit someone in the eye, could easily lose sight out of it.

    • The most appalling thing was that the fans were actually rewarded for their behavior. They played 7 minutes of stoppage time. All the time that was wasted because the fans prevented Ruiz from taking the corner kick was added on. Ridiculous. None of that time should’ve been added. A more appropriate action would’ve been to abandon the game and award Costa Rica a 3-0 win.

    • something has to be done. it’s absolutely ridiculous. i’m glad Ruiz didn’t just let it happen. not being intimidated in that environment.

    • Exactly. However, the sad thing for Mexico is if they had that player, they look quite good, particularly on defense.

    • they’ve only won 1 on the road… and tied 2 on the road… their new way is more like tying all their games… and then once randomly beating a terrible jamaica team 1 – 0 on the road.

      • Group A but they draw Italy (first game) Japan and brazil. If they can’t score at home they’ll struggle against this group. Japan is their best chance to dominate but they’re also good just not a second best in Europe (Italy) or South Americas best in brazil.

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