News

U.S. seals World Cup berth with win over Mexico

U.S. seals World Cup berth with win over Mexico

United States players Kyle Beckerman (L) and Clarence Goodson celebrate their victory over Mexico in their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Columbus, Ohio September 10, 2013. Photo: Reuters/REUTERS/Matt Sullivan

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) – The United States qualified for the World Cup finals in Brazil after second half goals from Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan gave them a 2-0 home win over Mexico on Tuesday.

With Honduras drawing 2-2 with Panama and Costa Rica held to a 1-1 draw in Jamaica, the Americans stand on top of the CONCACAF standings on 16 points with two games remaining.

Costa Rica, who also qualified on Tuesday, are on 15 points with Honduras on 11 points still fighting for the third automatic qualification spot.

The defeat leaves Mexico deep in trouble though – they are in fifth place, level on eight points with fourth-placed Panama and with only a slim chance of making third place.

‘El Tri’, who started qualification as clear favorites to top the group, still have plenty of work ahead to even get the fourth spot and get a shot at Brazil via a playoff with Oceania winners New Zealand.

The Americans had to wait for almost an hour after the game to know their spot in Brazil was secure – needing Honduras to pick up at least a point.

While players sat in the changing room watching the late game on television, hundreds of fans stayed in the stadium hoping to celebrate qualification and were rewarded with the U.S. team returning to the field to complete a lap of honor.

“This is a huge achievement for all of us,” coach Juergen Klinsmann told reporters.

“We can all be extremely proud of this team who gave everything. It’s a huge milestone whenever you make it to the World Cup, the biggest competition in this sport, especially hosted in Brazil, one of the biggest soccer nations.

“It means a lot to all of us. To our fans and to this country as well,” said the German, who took charge of the team in 2011.

For Mexico, the defeat to their biggest rival was a painful one on several levels.

“I don’t know what to tell you, we’re in debt with the people and very ashamed,” midfielder Christian Gimenez told Mexico’s TV Azteca.

MEXICO FADE

Mexico coach Luis Fernando Tena, taking charge for the first time following the firing of Jose Manuel de la Torre on Saturday, recalled Andres Guardado and Javier Hernandez to the starting line-up and their impact was felt early.

With Giovani dos Santos and Guardado stretching the U.S. defense, Argentine-born playmaker Gimenez found plenty of space and forced Tim Howard into a fine diving save in the 19th minute.

Moments later, Gimenez fired a free-kick just over the bar as Mexico took the game to the Americans.

Mexico keeper Jose Corona did well to block a diving header from Johnson from a rare U.S. attack but the danger was still coming from the visitors.

Dos Santos dribbled in the box and tested Howard with a stinging drive and then on the stroke of half-time, the home keeper’s reflexes were alert enough to keep out a header from Diego Reyes.

It was goalless at the break but Mexico had been superior in all departments with the Americans sorely missing the presence of the injured Michael Bradley in central midfield and the attacking threat of the suspended Jozy Altidore.

However, four minutes after the interval, the U.S. grabbed the lead when Donovan swung in a corner and Johnson broke free of his marker to power in a header past Corona who was caught in no-man’s land.

The noisy 24,584 capacity crowd at the compact Crew stadium sensed victory was within reach and that confidence appeared shared by their team, who began to dominate the midfield.

Mexico, by contrast, looked utterly crestfallen by the goal, their belief faded dramatically and there was no way back for them after substitute Mix Diskerud slipped the ball across the box for Donovan to make it 2-0 in the 78th minute.

Clint Dempsey’s awful penalty in the final seconds, after he had been fouled in the box, barely went noticed by the celebrating fans, who can now start planning their trips to Brazil.

Recent Headlines

yesterday in Entertainment

‘The Other Woman’ serves up revenge in comic female fantasy

other

"The Other Woman" is a somewhat rare species - a comedy by women, about women and for women.

1 hour ago in Sports

Pineda not only pitcher in majors to try pine tar

Fresh
Home plate umpire Gerry Davis ejects New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda after a foreign substance was discovered on the right side of his neck in the second inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Wednesday, April 23, 2014.

The Yankees pitcher is hardly the first major leaguer to use pine tar to aid his grip. He just got caught.

yesterday in Entertainment

Judd Apatow’s ‘Simpsons’ episode to air after 24 years

simpsons

The "Knocked Up" writer/director submitted a script in the 90s. Now it's finally being made.

yesterday in Sports

Case of 49ers’ Aldon Smith sent to city attorney

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith (99) against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game in San Francisco, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013.

According to ESPN.com Smith has a court appearance Tuesday on felony gun charges and a drunken driving charge in Santa Clara County in California.

yesterday in Music

Rock Hall says Jimi Hendrix at Monterey ‘greatest’ festival moment

jimi

Fans vote on the top 10 music festival performances of all time. Do you agree with the list?

Bellingham Traffic