2010 FIFA WORLD CUP: US late show grabs point in El Salvador

AFP , WASHINGTON

Mon, Mar 30, 2009 - Page 18

Two late goals allowed the US to grab a 2-2 draw in El Salvador on Saturday to seize the regional 2010 World Cup qualifying lead, while Mexican chances were boosted by a key home triumph.

Mexico were 2-0 losers in the US in last month’s opening qualifier, but bounced back with a 2-0 home triumph over Costa Rica, joining their victims in second in the table.

Saturday’s other game in the six-team fight for three World Cup 2010 berths in South America saw Ataullah Guerra’s 89th-minute goal give Trinidad and Tobago a 1-1 draw with Honduras after Carlos Pavon had scored the opener in the 50th minute.

Trinidad and Tobago, who surrendered two goals in the last 11 minutes to settle for an opening draw in El Salvador, were without Dwight Yorke, serving a four-match ban, while Chris Birchall and Clayton Ince were suspended after second yellow cards.

El Salvador could have jumped to the top of the table by defeating the US, but settled for a share of fourth on two points with Trinidad and Tobago.

The Salvadoreans seized command after goals by Eliseo Ortiz Quintanilla in the 15th minute and Cristian Castillo in the 72nd minute.

Trailing by two goals with the hosts poised to go top of the table, the Americans grabbed a draw thanks to goals from Jozy Altidore in the 77th minute and Frankie Hejduk in the 88th minute. It also needed a defender’s saving header late in stoppage time to deny a bicycle kick from Brian Ching.

Costa Rica had inflicted Mexico’s lone home defeat in World Cup qualifying at the Azteca Stadium in 2001, but could not repeat the feat with a chance to seize the lead in the table with a victory.

Omar Bravo scored in the 19th minute and Pavel Pardo netted a penalty kick in the 52nd minute for a victory before 105,000 spectators at the Azteca Stadium that eased the pressure on Mexico manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.