On Thursday night there was a full slate of Concacaf action as the top three in teams in the Octagonal look to pull away in securing automatic passage to the World Cup in November. And they did just that as the United States, Canada, and Mexico all won their matches. While it was easier for Canada than the others, the United States will take a credible win over El Salvador, and Mexico needed the lift of a comeback over Jamaica.
Jamaica 1, Mexico 2
USA 1, El Salvador 0
Honduras 0, Canada 2
Costa Rica 1, Panama 0
Jamaica saw the first use of VAR in Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers and they'll wish that they didn't as it saw Damion Lowe sent off with a straight red card due to a studs-up follow through on Andres Guardado right before the half. Lowe got the ball but due to the follow through he was sent off. To Compensate, Jamacia brought on Liam Moore for Lamar Walker as they would go into even more of a shell.
Against the odds, the Reggae Boyz would open the scoring in the 50th minute as a bouncing ball in the box found Daniel Johnson and he wouldn't miss.
It's another case of Tata Martino's men having a lapse and paying for it as the ball should've been cleared and Guillermo Ochoa was also caught flat footed. It felt like the same old story for a Mexico team that has been sliding in qualification lately. El Tri would leave it late but they piled the pressure on and Andre Blake cracked. Henry Martin would get the opener in the 81st minute with his header getting past Blake who jumped too early for the ball.
Ernesto Vega's winner two minutes later was a good finish that squeaked in but again Jamaica should've done better defending even though they were down a man.
This result likely sees Jamacia's slim World Cup hopes fizzle out while Mexico strengthens their chances.
Canada retains the top spot in the Octagonal after leaving no doubt in their match with Honduras. Going ahead in the 10th minute Canada wouldn't look back. With no Alphonso Davies, it was on Jonathan David and the rest of the team to carry the load and they did just that. Tajon Buchanan had a mazy run into the box that confused Honduras so much, Denil Maldonado put the ball into his own net for the 1-0 Canada lead.
Canada had to stave off Honduras for most of the match but their defense led by Alistair Johnston was able to hold strong for long enough for David to double the lead. There aren't enough words to describe how good David has been for Canada in qualifying but his touch and finish were a thing of beauty.
This will run Canada's unbeaten streak to nine matches ahead of a clash with the United States on Sunday. They've all but wrapped up a spot in the World Cup with a five point gap on fourth place but things could be a little tighter by the end of the Window.
Costa Rica secured a win that will make Canada, The United States and Mexico happy as they took down Panama 1-0. Bryan Ruiz keeps going no matter how old he gets and the win puts them two points off of a playoff spot for the World Cup.
It feels like Costa Rica always heats up just in time to make the World Cup and this year could be similar with Ruiz and Joel Campbell playing like they've dialed back the clock. It's a big opportunity dropped by Panama, however as they could've pushed the top teams in Concacaf while opening up a gap on Costa Rica to secure the playoff spot for themselves.
While Panama are still in the driver's seat, it's a match that they could've used.