Drama in CONCACAF as the United States saves Mexico

Published Tuesday, October 15, 2013 5:07 AM by William Montero
Drama in CONCACAF as the United States saves Mexico

Wow.  What a night of drama in the final matchday of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.  It seemed like the standings were changing minute to minute!

Mexico started the night needing a result in Costa Rica to earn a playoff with New Zealand for a place in Brazil 2014.  Panama had to beat the United States and hope for a Mexico loss.

The night started in the worst possible way for Mexico.  A wide open match played in the Costa Rica rained looked destined for plenty of goals as both sides raced back and forth.

In the 25th minute Costa Rica broke through as Bryan Ruiz blasted home a left footed volley from 10 yards out.  Meanwhile, Panama had already gone ahead of the US with an early Gabriel Torres goal.  At the moment Mexico and Panama were even for the playoff position.

Only four minutes later Mexico evened the game in Costa Rica as Morones blasted in off the crossbar.  The matches went to halftime with Mexico holding onto a very slim lead in the standings.

Things were wild and crazy in the second half.  In the 64th minute Mexico once again fell behind as Costa Rica scored a strong header from Alvaro Saborio.  It looked bleak for Mexico at that point as Panama and Mexico were once again even on points. 

Just then Mexico got help from none other than their rivals from the north as the United States scored the tying goal in Panama as Michael Orozco scored.

Once again we were back to advantage Mexico.  Panama simply had to beat the US for anything to matter for them.  A draw was not good enough.  Mexico would grab the playoff spot even with the loss in Costa Rica.

84th minute Drama - Panama got the goal they needed to jump ahead of the USA 2-1.  Luis Tejada got on the end of a Brad Guzan loose ball and pounded it home.  Panama were now in position for the playoff spot and with only minutes left it was Mexico on the outside.

As both matches entered stoppage time the players on the Mexico bench looked resigned to their fate.  Chicharito looked like he was about to be in tears.

92nd minute Drama - Attention!!  Attention!! Attention!! As the Mexican announcers screamed on their broadcast.  The United States had scored!  Graham Zusi headed home a cross and the match was tied at 2-2.  Just the result Mexico needed.

Only a minute later and the United States had scored again and stolen the win inside a stunned Panama City stadium 3-2.  Mexico had new life.

Despite the 2-1 loss.  Despite only winning twice in the entire round of qualifying.  Mexico slipped into the 4th spot and will advance to the playoff with New Zealand next month.

The United States, Costa Rica and Honduras are all heading to Brazil 2014.