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CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

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The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.

VIDEO: Panama ball boy goes viral; national holiday declared

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Panama reached the World Cup for the first time in history on Tuesday night thanks to a late winning goal, and a little help from one ball boy…

[ MORE: Where did it go wrong for USA? ]

With Panama leading Costa Rica 2-1 late on, the fans in Panama City were going wild as they aimed to help push their team over the line. One ball boy went above and beyond his duty.

Check out the video below for plenty of laughter. With the ball dribbling out of play for a Costa Rica throw-in deep in Panama’s own half, a ball boy came from nowhere to punt the ball away and waste some valuable time which allowed the defenders to get back in shape.

If we weren’t all wallowing in the shocking defeat for the U.S. national team last night, then I promise you this would be even funnier than it already is.

Also, the president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, declared a national holiday on Wednesday after Panama reached the World Cup finals.

Incredible.

 

WATCH: Panama win that helped doom USMNT included phantom goal

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Really sorry to do to this to you in your already sorrowful state, U.S. Soccer supporters, but Panama probably shouldn’t have scored its equalizer against Costa Rica.

That goal made it 1-1, and put Los Canaleros on the path to the inter-confederation playoff when Roman Torres scored to lift Panama past Costa Rica on the day and beyond the flailing USMNT for the Hex.

[ MORE: T&T-USMNT recap | Player ratings | 3 things ]

Now Panama is off to the World Cup and Honduras will tangle with Australia for a berth in Russia, while the U.S. will play friendlies against, we’re not sure, probably Canada and Lithuania or something.

Watch, and grimace. And no, no VAR in CONCACAF.

WATCH LIVE: USMNT-Trinidad and Tobago, 2 other CONCACAF qualifiers

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Three teams, one automatic berth, one playoff spot, and one spot in a series of moribund friendlies.

[ TELEMUNDO STREAMS: USMNT-T&T, HON-MEX, PAN-CRC ]

The scenarios are here, but American fans are looking for one thing and one thing alone: a win in Trinidad and Tobago at Ato Boldon Stadium, whether sweet and satisfying or a grind over the line.

There’s desperation everywhere, but each match has an opponent capable of disappearing. Mexico, who’s in Honduras, has already clinched its place in Russia. Costa Rica says it will grind against Panama, but just wrapped up a spot on Friday. U.S. opponent T&T is dead last but home.

The U.S. lineup is the same as Friday’s blowout of Panama.

CONCACAF World Cup qualifying preview: Panama, Honduras hoping to make it

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One automatic qualification place and one playoff place remain up for grabs as matchday ten of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying gets underway Tuesday evening.

With simultaneous kickoffs at 8 p.m., the U.S. Men’s National Team, Honduras and Panama are all in contention for the final automatic qualifying spot or the playoff place to book a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

The USMNT controls its own destiny and is in with a win and most likely a draw, but Panama and Honduras have one advantage – both are playing at home against teams that have already qualified and have nothing left to play for.

Let’s take a quick look at the other two matches in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying:


Panama vs. Costa Rica

Los Canaleros have never made a World Cup finals. This may be their last chance for a while.

A golden generation of Panamanian players are all getting past their prime together, and this could be their last World Cup cycle together.

With 10 points and a -2 goal differential, Panama are currently in the pole position for the qualifying playoff place that would see them face either Syria or Australia.

But for what it’s worth, Costa Rica doesn’t plan on lying down. They remember how Jonathan Bornstein’s stoppage time goal sent them into the World Cup playoff, where they faced and fell to Uruguay, which went on to make it to the World Cup semifinals in South Africa.

“It will sound rude, but we are not interested in what benefits Panama or Honduras, we are not going to give the qualification to anyone,” Patrick Pemberton, Costa Rica goalkeeper said. “We are very aware of what happened to us in the United States, when they, being qualified, sent us to the playoffs for the World Cup in South Africa. That is why we do not intend to go to Panama to water the classification to anyone, much less to send them to the playoffs, we want to go to add three points, close the tie well.”


Honduras vs. Mexico

Honduras, like Panama has one goal on Tuesday. Make at least the World Cup playoff stage.

All that’s standing in Los Catrachos’ way is Mexico, but it won’t be the same El Tri that dazzled during the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Javier “Chicharito Hernandez received “special permission” to leave the Mexican National Team while star winger Hirving Lozano suffered an elbow injury, forcing him to return to his club PSV Eindhoven for treatment.

Perhaps Honduras then can take advantage of a slightly weaker El Tri to record a crucial win in the Olimpico Metropolitano Stadium, which is always a difficult stadium to play in. Mexico has managed two wins and a draw in its last three trips to San Pedro Sula.