ST. LOUIS, MO. Sporting Alert – United States and Mexico both started the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying semi-final round with victories, but Jamaica failed to impress at home.
In front of a crowd of 43,433 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, USA rallied from a goal down to hammer Saint Vincent and The Grenadines 6-1 to race to the top of Group C after one game.
A brace from Jozy Altidore setup the victory for the North American giants who are the heavy favourites to top this group.
“In Jozy we have a very special player. He’s going through ups and downs. You have to stay calm and work even harder,” said USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
But it was Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, who took a shocking lead in the fifth minute when Oalex Anderson picked up a Geoff Cameron (USA) intercepted pass on the left flank before advancing forward with a few touches and fired past Tim Howard.
USA rebounded big time, though – scoring three unanswered goals in the opening 31 minutes through Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson and Altidore to take a dominating 3-1 lead at halftime.
Klinsmann’s side kept pressing for more goals after the break and netted three more in the second half en route to the convincing home victory, despite playing without star forward Clint Dempsey.
Klinsmann handed CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying debut appearances to Tim Ream, Bobby Wood, DeAndre Yedlin, Gyasi Zardes, Matt Miazga, Jordan Morris and Darlington Nagbe for the United States.
Mexico 3, El Salvador 0
Another North American giants, Mexico eased to a 3-0 victory over El Salvador after getting off to a quick start.
Andres Guardado expertly fired home a free-kick past the goalkeeper to give El Tri the lead in the seventh minute.
Hector Herrera made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute with a wonderful finish that tricked both Javier Hernandez, who desperately tried to get a touch on the ball, as well as the goalkeeper.
The home side also took advantage of some poor defending in the back by the El Salvador defenders to make it 3-0 in the 64th minute as Carlos Vela put away a delightful through pass from Jesus Corona.
Jamaica Reggae Boyz Stunned At Home
Meanwhile, CONCACAF Gold Cup runners-up Jamaica were poor at home and were punished for it after falling 2-0 to Panama.
The Reggae Boyz went into the game with a lot of confidence but failed to deliver on the pitch, as the home supporters left the National Stadium in Kingston, very disappointed.
Armando Cooper scored the pick of the goals for Panama with a wonderful free-kick in the 43rd minute before Alberto Quintero added a second shortly after the halftime break to sink the home side, which needs to quickly pick itself back up before the next game against Haiti, who fell 1-0 to Costa Rica in the other Group B game on the night.
In other results in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying semi-final round on Friday night, Khaleem Hyland and Kenwyne Jones scored second-half goals to push Trinidad and Tobago to a 2-1 road win over Guatemala, while Canada edged Honduras 1-0 after Cyle Larin netted the winner midway through the second half.
T&T and Panama were the other two teams with roads wins in CONCACAF qualifying action Friday night.
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers Scores
Mexico 3-0 El Salvador
Canada 1-0 Honduras
Costa Rica 1-0 Haiti
Jamaica 0-2 Panama
USA 6-1 Saint Vincent and The Grenadines
Guatemala 1-2 Trinidad and Tobago