CONCACAF WCQ: Panama snatch a point late; CRC hold off T&T

AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco
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Tuesday night’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers couldn’t have gone much better for the U.S. national team, who hold onto third place in CONCACAF’s Hexagonal round…

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Panama 2-2 Honduras

The air was rife with controversy in Panama City on Tuesday, as a Honduras side fighting for its World Cup dream pushed Panama to the limit, with a little help from a swallowed referee’s whistle.

It was a night to savor for Houston Dynamo fans, too, with the MLS side’s Honduran duo of Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis bagging a goal each. Quioto opened the scoring in the 6th minute, and Elis put Los Catrachos back in front in the 65th minute, after Blas Perez pulled Los Canaleros level with his head shoulder back neck upper-body part four minutes before halftime.

Then, in the 74th minute, came the controversial non-goal moment which Panamanians will (rightly, perhaps) feel cost their side two points on the night. Gabriel Torres appeared to redirect the ball over the goal line as he stood completely unmarked at the back post following a corner kick. He didn’t strike it cleanly, though, and the ball looped into the air just high enough and long enough for Donis Escober to palm it off his line, at least according to the referee.

The home side would get its equalizer in the final minute of regular time, as Roman Torres, the Seattle Sounders’ 2016 MLS Cup penalty shootout hero, popped up at just the right moment to slot the ball past Escober and rescue a point for Panama.

As far as the USMNT is concerned, a draw was the perfect result for the two sides immediately behind them in the standings (below).

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Costa Rica 2-1 Trinidad and Tobago

Minnesota United defender Francisco Calvo got Costa Rica off to a flying start, putting the home side 1-0 ahead in the 1st minute, only to see his club teammate, forward Kevin Molino, pull Trinidad and Tobago level 34 minutes later. Bryan Ruiz bagged the game-winning goal in the 44th minute, though, to all but officially end T&T’s chances of qualifying for next summer’s tournament in Russia.

Current Hex standings

1. Mexico — 14 points
2. Costa Rica — 11
3. USA — 8
4. Panama — 8
5. Honduras — 5
6. T&T — 3