Costa Rica and the US earned crucial wins in their World Cup qualifying games in the CONCACAF region on Friday, while Mexico were held to a goalless draw at dogged Panama.
Roy Millers’ 25th-minute header, after Honduras ’keeper Noel Valladares parried out a Celso Borges free-kick, was enough to give Costa Rica a 1-0 victory in San Jose, which moved them to the top spot.
Costa Rica (seven points) lead on goal difference from the US (seven), while Mexico also have seven points although they have played one more game.
Panama (six), Honduras (four) and Jamaica (two) complete the bottom half.
The US were lucky to be part of the leading trio after Brad Evans struck in injury-time to give Juergen Klinsmann’s team a 2-1 win in Kingston against Jamaica.
The US took the lead after 30 minutes with a thundering header from Jozy Altidore, who met a beautifully delivered Graham Zusi cross.
However, the Reggae Boyz looked to have snatched a point with a Jermaine Beckford header in the 89th minute before Evans slotted home after being well-provided for by Michael Bradley.
Mexico will be disappointed with their fourth draw in five games, but Panama are proving to be the surprise package in the group.
Surprisingly, Mexican striker Aldo Di Nigris, who scored in Tuesday’s 1-0 win in Jamaica, was left on the bench and did not enter until he replaced the injured Javier Hernandez in the 80th minute.
There were few chances, but Panama went the closest in the second half when, from a corner, striker Blas Perez fired through the crowded penalty area, but Mexico goalkeeper Jesus Corona got down well.
Panama, who have never reached a World Cup finals, travel to Seattle on Tuesday to face the US.
Mexico are to host Costa Rica, while Jamaica travel to Honduras.