Big night for MLS men in World Cup qualifying

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TAMPA, Fla. – MLS is (mostly) taking the weekend off, but MLS men had a big time of it Friday as World Cup qualifying began.

The big talker here, of course, was the Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, who helped arrange two goals in the United States’ 3-1 win over Antigua and Barbuda.

Down in the Caribbean, Toronto’s Ryan Johnson matched a goal from teammate Dema Phillips for as Jamaica topped Guatemala 2-1 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz are now unbeaten in 13 matches against Guatemala, the U.S. opponent on Tuesday.

Johnson’s second half goal was the game-winner for Jamaica in an important win; his team can now go to Toronto on Tuesday, comfortable with a draw against Canada.

Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio had one of two goals for Costa Rica in a disappointing home draw with El Salvado in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Ticos had a two goal lead before the Salvadoran rally.

But the highlight night belonged Dallas’ Blas Perez, whose pair of hits in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, got Panama’s bid off in a big way, a 2-0 win over Honduras, which qualified for World Cup 2010.

That was the fifth consecutive World Cup qualifying win for Panama, and Perez’s ongoing efforts have been a big part of it.