Mexico out to end Columbus curse in World Cup qualifying

Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

In a remarkable coincidence, the United States has beaten Mexico 2-0 in all four of their World Cup qualifiers in Columbus, Ohio.

In 2001, 2005, 2009, and 2013.

On Friday, they meet in the same place, in another qualifier, and it will be chilly again.

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Enough is enough, say Mexico.

“It is a spectacular opportunity to end this statistic (in Columbus),” coach Juan Carlos Osorio said.


For the qualifiers in the U.S. and Panama, Osorio sought out experienced players, including 14 who play abroad.

Notable, was the recall of Carlos Vela from Spain’s Real Sociedad. He hasn’t played for Mexico since 2015. Also back were brothers Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos, who did not play in the Copa America in June.

Veteran Rafael Marquez tasted several defeats in Columbus, but had a good feeling this time. “This is a different time, with different players that will leave the past behind,” Marquez said.

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U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has drawn on 15 players from the 2014 World Cup. But Clint Dempsey was not available because of cardiac arrhythmia.

“This match against Mexico is filled with emotions,” said U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, who has blanked Mexico twice in Columbus.


Honduras is seeking its third consecutive trip to a World Cup, and coach Jorge Luis Pinto has picked youngsters who played at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and reached the semifinals.

Honduras plays visiting Panama on Friday, and two home players to watch are midfielder Romel Quioto and striker Alberth Elis.

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“Coach Pinto’s experience will be key for our future,” Elis said.

In 2013 qualifying, Panama beat Honduras 2-0 and drew away 2-2.


Costa Rica’s morale has been boosted by the availability of goalkeeper Keylor Navas for the qualifiers at Trinidad and Tobago on Friday and against the U.S. on Tuesday.

Injuries and club commitments have kept Navas, the Real Madrid `keeper, from previous rounds of the qualifiers.

“It is always tough to return after injury, but now I am painless and happy,” Navas said as he was welcomed by fans at Costa Rica airport.

In the second rotation of World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday, Honduras hosts Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica welcomes the United States, and Panama plays against Mexico.