Javier Hernandez managed to score twice for Mexico, but Honduras stormed back to earn the draw. Jon Arnold with a report on that match and the rest of the week's CONCACAF action.
March 26, 2013
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Mexico misses opportunity
El Tri came out firing in the 100-plus-degree heat in San Pedro Sula on Friday and Honduras didn’t have an answer for Chicharito. The Manchester United striker scored in the 28th minute from an Andres Guardado cross, then put Mexico up two goals by slipping his man and poking in a free kick in the 54th. Mexico looked destined to win three valuable road points in an oppressive atmosphere.
Honduras had other ideas. Los Catrachos came charging back, with former Houston Dynamo striker Carlo Costly pulling one back off a corner kick from the Seattle Sounders' Mario Martinez in the 77th. Costly drew a penalty just moments later—one that Jerry Bengtson of the New England Revolution would have saved by Memo Ochoa. But Bengtson followed up for the equalizer.
Since manager Chepo de la Torre had elected to take off Hernandez and Gio dos Santos, Mexico didn’t have too much in the tank as far as attack, and the match ended level. Taking those star attackers out of the match didn’t sit well with fans south of the border, nor did starting off the Hex with two draws. Chepo has a fantastic record with the national team, but if he wasn’t feeling the heat in Honduras (weather joke), he will be in the Azteca.
Reggae Boyz, Marea Roja share point
The other Hex match also ended with a draw. Jamaica, riding high after drawing with Mexico to start the tournament, got on the board first. Veteran midfielder Marvin Elliott headed in a well-placed corner from Demar Phillips in the 23rd minute. Neither team was able to do too much, but Panama found the equalizer through Luis Henríquez. The defender, who plays his club football in Poland, surprised Donovan Ricketts with a left-footed shot that got through traffic and bounced in front of the Jamaican keeper and into the back of the net.
News and Notes
Several CONCACAF teams not involved in the Hex played friendlies during the international window. We’ll touch on just a few of them here. Belarus did what the U.S. can’t seem to do and scored twice on Canada. The location was one our Northern neighbors will hope to revisit—Doha, Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup will take place.
Canada also lost to Japan 2-1 on Friday.
The Dominican Republic beat fellow CONCACAF foe Haiti, 3-1 Sunday. They get the Copa Quisqueya for their efforts in beating their Hispaniola neighbors.
That came only four days after Haiti were shut out by Oman 3-0 in Muscat on an Abdul Aziz Al Muqbali hat trick. He scored the opener in Oman’s qualifier against Australia.
We’ll pass along a couple of other results of note. Trinidad and Tobago had a scoreless draw against Belize. El Salvador was thumped by Ecuador, 5-0 Thursday. No matter to the supporters of La Azul y Blanco; their eyes are on the four-team beach soccer tournament taking place in Costa del Sol this weekend. Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Spain join the host nation.
We’ll break down Tuesday’s results and take our usual tour of the region’s domestic leagues later this week.
Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.