Houston Dynamo internationals: U.S. clinches World Cup berth, Honduras in solid position with two games left
Tuesday night’s round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers brought Brazil into clearer view for some countries but left it hazier still for others. With only two games remaining in the final round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, here is a recap of how Dynamo internationals fared on Tuesday and where they stand heading into October’s final two qualifying matches.
Boniek Garcia, Honduras: The Dynamo talisman started for Honduras in its 2-2 draw against Panama at Estadio Tiburcio Carias Andino, his former home stadium when he played for Olimpia. Garcia earned his 87th cap and played 80 minutes before exiting with Honduras holding a 2-1 lead.
Former Dynamo striker Carlo Costly scored for the second straight game, delivering Honduras a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute. Panama forward and new Colorado Rapids signing Gabriel Torres equalized in the 50th minute. Wilson Palacios answered with a goal in the 61st minute for a 2-1 lead for Los Catrachos. But Torres would score a vital equalizer in stoppage time for a dramatic 2-2 draw.
A win for Honduras would have virtually clinched an automatic place in next year’s World Cup. Still, Honduras is in a good position with two games remaining, alone in third place on 11 points, three points above both Panama and Mexico.
Recipe for qualification: Honduras hosts Costa Rica on October 11 before completing the qualifying round with a road game at Jamaica on October 15. If it earns a win against Costa Rica, it would automatically qualify for Brazil if Panama and Mexico draw on the same night. Even if there is a winner between Mexico and Panama on October 11, Honduras will be in a prime position with a win, as it would have 14 points and a three point lead on the Mexico-Panama winner with one game remaining. Moreover, Honduras currently holds the first tiebreaker – goal difference – over both Mexico and Panama. Honduras (0 GD) is two goals better than Panama (-2 GD) and Mexico (-2 GD). If Honduras secures at least four points over its final two games, it will automatically qualify for Brazil. If Honduras were passed in the standings by Mexico or Panama over the final two games, and finish in fourth place, it would play New Zealand, the winner of the Oceania federation, in a two-leg playoff in November for the final place in the World Cup.
Among players in the current squad for Honduras, Garcia has the fourth most appearances (87).
Jermaine Taylor, Jamaica: The versatile Dynamo defender played 90 minutes for Jamaica and delivered the assist on Jermaine Anderson’s equalizer two minutes into stoppage time for a 1-1 home draw against Costa Rica.
Taylor played 90 minutes for Jamaica in both of its qualifiers this round. Jamaica is eliminated from contention for Brazil after struggling to score goals throughout the final qualifying round. The Reggae Boyz have scored just three goals in eight games during the Hexagonal Round.
Jamaica will complete qualifying with a road game against the United States on October 11 and a home game against Honduras four days later.
Among players in the current squad for Jamaica, Taylor has the third most appearances (73).
Brad Davis, United States: The Dynamo midfielder was an unused substitute for the United States in its 2-0 win over Mexico in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday night. Despite not playing, the experience was surely unforgettable for Davis, who was part of the post-game celebrations as the U.S. clinched a place in next year’s World Cup, the seventh consecutive finals appearance for the Americans.
Davis contributed to the qualification effort for the U.S., appearing as a substitute in two of three June World Cup Qualifying wins for the United States: a 1-0 triumph over Honduras and 2-0 victory over Panama. Davis made his World Cup Qualifying debut in a 0-0 draw at Mexico on March 26.
Davis, Taylor and Garcia will all return to Houston today to prepare for Saturday’s crucial Eastern Conference game at Philadelphia. Garcia, however, is suspended for Saturday’s game against the Union after receiving a one-game ban by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for a challenge on Patrick Nyarko on Sept. 1 in Chicago.