PAYBACK Ticos beat US 31 take first place

first_imgCosta Rica slowed the USA’s march toward the 2014 World Cup with a 3-1 win Friday, while Mexico were on even shakier ground after a 2-1 loss to Honduras.Costa Rica moved to the top of the six-nation final qualifying group in North and Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) with the victory in San José that ended the USA’s 12-match winning streak.The Ticos now head the group on 14 points, one more than Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States. Mexico, long the powerhouse of the region, are in worse straits heading into another crucial round of matches Tuesday.Two goals in the space of three minutes in the second half lifted Honduras to victory in Mexico City and into third place in the group that will see three teams advance directly to next year’s finals, and the fourth-placed team play off for a berth against New Zealand.Mexico, held to three dispiriting goalless draws in their three prior qualifiers at Azteca Stadium – the venue where they once dominated all comers – appeared poised to turn things around when Oribe Peralta put them ahead 1-0 in the sixth minute.But Jerry Bengtson in the 64th and Carlo Costly in the 66th ensured Honduras came away with a maximum three points that take their total to 10, with Mexico fourth on 8.In San José, Costa Rica were out for revenge after a bitter 1-0 defeat to the United States in Denver in March, in a match played in heavy snow.The hosts jumped to a quick lead as Johnny Acosta beat DaMarcus Beasley on a set-piece corner and headed home a goal in the third minute. Bryan Ruiz #10 battles for a header against Matthew Besler #5 of the United States. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP Johnny Acosta #2 celebrates scoring the first goal against the United States with Christian Gamboa #16 during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier at Estadio Nacional on Friday in San José. Costa Rica schooled the U.S. team 3-1. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP Clint Dempsey #8 of the United States reacts after falling 2-0 to Costa Rica. The U.S. never recovered. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP Ticos go nuts after Johnny Acosta scored against the United States during their FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, CONCACAF qualifier football match at the National Stadium. For Costa Rica, now in first place, it was a sweet payback for March’s blizzard match. Hector Retamal/AFPlast_img

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