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CONCACAF World Cup qualifying preview: Beyond USMNT-Mexico

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Outside of the United States’ rivalry match with Mexico — just about everything you need to know for that is here — CONCACAF’s other Hex contestants debut on Friday as well.

[ CONMEBOL: Argentina in trouble ]

Panama opens up its Hex at home with a visit from Honduras. Panama’s six MLS players star with longtime LA Galaxy keeper Jaime Penedo and captain Felipe Baloy. Contrast that veteran squad with what’s across the field: a Honduran corps that mixes veteran savvy in the form of Boniek Garcia, Maynor Figueroa, and Roger Espinoza with electric young Olympic stars Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto. That one kicks early, at 3:35 p.m. EDT.

Costa Rica is on the road before its Tuesday home match with the U.S., and its destination for Friday’s opener is Trinidad and TobagoLos Ticos still rank ahead of the United States in FIFA rankings at 18th, and new coach Oscar Ramirez has a Hex-experiences squad including Keylor Navas, Bryan Ruiz, Michael Umana, Celso Borges, and Joel Campbell amongst others. Kickoff from Costa Rica is scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT.

T&T takes the place of Jamaica, and will hope for a better fate than the Reggae Boyz of 2014. Jamaica scooped up just five draws in finishing six points shy of the interconfederation playoff spot.

UEFA Champions League roundup: Hosts, including Manchester United, go five-for-five in playoff first legs

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Aside from a pair of away goals, the five visiting sides of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff first legs don’t have much to do beside lick their wounds and hope for something better at home.

CSKA Moscow and Club Brugge both scored on the road, but both also lost on Tuesday. And Bayer Leverkusen, Partizan Belgrade and APOEL Nicosia find themselves down 1-0 after 90 road minutes.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Here are your quick recaps:

Manchester United 3-1 Club Brugge
— RECAP | Van Gaal reacts

Memphis Depay scored twice and added a valuable stoppage time assist as the Red Devils overcame an early Michael Carrick own goal to set themselves up well for next Wednesday’s second leg in Belgium.

Lazio 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Keita Balde Diao scored in the 77th minute, eight minutes after Bayer had a goal controversially but correctly ruled offside.

BATE Borisov 1-0 Partizan Belgrade
The visitors went down to 10 men after a first half stoppage time red card, and Mikhail Gordeychuk reaped the rewards off a corner kick with a quarter hour to play.

Astana 1-0 APOEL Nicosia
Eleven-times capped Kazakh midfielder Bauryzhan Dzolchiev, 25, scored the lone goal of a close match in the 13th minute.

source: AP
Ruiz (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Sporting Lisbon 2-1 CSKA Moscow
Islam Slimani’s 82nd minute goal lifts the Portuguese side into a first leg lead. Seydou Doumbia scored for the visitors. Costa Rican attacker Bryan Ruiz had an assist for the victors.

Wednesday’s UCL first legs (all at 2:45 p.m. ET)
Valencia vs. Monaco
Basel vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Celtic vs. Malmo
Rapid Wien vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Skenderbeu vs. GNK Dinamo

Gold Cup Today: Canada in Toronto for huge clash vs. Costa Rica; Jamaica vs. El Salvador — Day 11

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For the only time during the 2015 Gold Cup campaign, two games will be played in Canada on Tuesday. And there couldn’t be a better time for the Canadian national team to get some home support.

[ LIVE: 2015 Gold Cup updates ]

Benito Floro’s side have yet to win in their opening two group games and now face co-favorites to win it all, Costa Rica, knowing they must win to advance. Tricky stuff. As for Costa Rica, a defeat will likely see them out of the tournament too. Plenty is on the line in Ontario.

Below is a brief primer on what to expect from both games, while you can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.

Game 15: Jamaica vs. El Salvador
When: Tuesday, 6 p.m. ET
Where: BMO Field, Toronto
Live updates:

The Reggae Boyz can realx as they’ve already sealed their spot in the quarterfinals, but Winfried Schaefer’s side will want to guarantee top spot in Group B by beating El Salvador. Rodolph Austin’s late winner against Canada sealed Jamaica’s entry into the last eight following a promising 2-2 draw with Costa Rica in their opening game. As for El Salvador, it’s complicated. Even if they lose they could still go through depending on how Canada get on vs. Costa Rica and will be hoping for a draw from Cuba vs. Guatemala tomorrow.

Game 16: Canada vs. Costa Rica
When: Tusday, 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: BMO Field, Toronto
Live updates:

What a massive game this is. Canada will play in front of their own fans at BMO Field hoping to grab a win against Costa Rica and nothing less will do. Expect an attack-minded lineup from Floro and if the Canadians score early then Costa Rica could be in big trouble. However, we all know how good Los Ticos and after squandering leads in their opening two group games, the likes of Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell will look to put this result beyond any doubt in front of a fired up home crowd. If Canada can pull this off, it would be a marquee moment.

Costa Rica 1-1 El Salvador: More late drama in Gold Cup Group B

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Costa Rica were all but through to the quarterfinals of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 lead over El Salvador heading into stoppage time at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Tex., on Saturday night.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Gold Cup coverage ]

Then came the second 92nd-minute goal of the day in that same building — this one by El Salvador — to throw Group B into a heap of uncertainty with one round of group stage games left to be played.

Bryan Ruiz, the former Fulham and new Sporting CP (Portugal) midfielder, scored the game’s opening goal, a low, powerful finish from an extremely tight angle in the 61st minute to break a scoreless deadlock that to that point had actually, surprisingly, seen El Salvador the more likely side to break through.

Dustin Corea scored the late equalizer for El Salvador, though, when he got on the end of Arturo Alvarez’s left-sided free kick and applied the first-time finish from the top of the six-yard box. A deserved draw in the end, for El Salvador.

[ MORE GOLD CUP: USA 1-0 HAI | HON 1-1 PAN | JAM 1-0 CANMEX 6-0 CUB | T&T 3-1 GUA ]

With one game still to play in Group B, both Costa Rica and El Salvador (two points each) could finish anywhere from first to fourth in the group. Los Ticos will face Canada on Tuesday at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada, while Jamaica have El Salvador.

Costa Rica 2-2 Jamaica: Reggae Boyz earn solid draw with Los Ticos

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Maybe Jamaica’s participation in the Copa America last month in Chile will pay off this month on the other side of the equator.

The Reggae Boyz opened their 2015 Gold Cup run with a solid result against world No. 14 Costa Rica, drawing 2-2 in Carson on Wednesday night.

Roy Miller and David Ramirez scored for Costa Rica, while Garath McCleary and Jobi McAnuff netted for Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz led 1-0 and trailed 2-1.

[ MORE: Preki named odds-on favorite for Leicester job ]

Jamaica lost all three of its matches at the Copa America, as Winfried Schafer charges suffered 1-0 losses to Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.

But they weren’t fazed by Costa Rica, scoring the first goal when Kemar Lawrence’s long throw bounded off the grass and over Junior Diaz, who mistimed the bounce. McCleary was in prime position to finish from close range, and Jamaica led 1-0 in the 13th minute

Los Ticos tied it up on crafty free kick play in the 33rd minute. Sending a ball in from the left, Bryan Ruiz played a low pass across the top of the 18, and Ramirez flicked it over the charging Jamaican defense for Miller to head home.

Costa Rica found a lead four minutes later. Celso Borges sent a long ball over the top of the Reggae Boyz’ defense, and Ramirez got in tight to put his first touch home.

Jamaica got a little bit of luck to help tie the score, as McAnuff’s out-of-control dribble paid off. McAnuff slapped his foot at an odd bounce, and it fooled Miller. His next touch was a fine finish, and it was 2-2.

It was Esteban Alvarado, not Keylor Navas, in goal for Costa Rica, and the 26-year-old AZ Alkmaar keeper made a strong low save to stop a cutting dribble into the 18 by Darren Mattocks.

Both teams looked capable of scoring a winner late, but neither found a way to take all three points. The 89th minute saw Alvarado explode off his line to deny a late Jamaican shot.

Jamaica next faces Canada on Saturday in Houston, while Costa Rica will play El Salvador.