Jamaica upset USA, Mexico cruise

Jamaica shocked USA 2-1 on Friday to seize the lead in their group in the semi-final round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ qualifying in the CONCACAF Zone, while Mexico moved ever closer to progressing to the final round with a win in Costa Rica.

Goals from Rodolph Austin and Luton Shelton overcame Clint Dempsey’s first-minute strike for USA as Jamaica posted their first victory over the US in 19 matches.

The goal for Dempsey — 36 seconds into the match — was the fastest for the USA in FIFA World Cup qualifying, confounding predictions that he would show some rust in his first competitive match since June. But with Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley missing through injury, USA couldn’t make it stand up as free kicks from Austin and Shelton gave Jamaica the victory.

In the 22nd, Austin fired a low shot through the US wall and past US goalkeeper Tim Howard. It was Shelton’s turn in the 62nd and Jamaica, who came into the match level with the United States atop Group A, now lead with seven points to the USA‘s four.

The top two teams from each of the three groups advance to the final round of regional qualifying next year, and the United States will be aiming to get back on track when they host Jamaica on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio.

Mexico, meanwhile, remained perfect in Group B with their third win in as many matches thanks to a 2-0 triumph over Costa Rica. Carlos Salcido scored in the 43rd minute, Jesus Zavala netted in the 52nd – both from Andres Guardado corner kicks – to leave Mexico needing just one more win to advance.

Costa Rica held on to second place in the group with four points as El Salvador and Guyana played out a 2-2 draw in San Salvador.

Honduras cruise, Canada edge win

In Group C, Honduras posted a convincing 3-0 victory at Cuba, all three of the Honduras goals coming from players competing in Major League Soccer.

New England’s Jerry Bengtson opened the scoring in the 31st minute. Victor Bernardez added a second goal when he converted a free kick in the 63rd and Marvin Chavez — Bernardez’s team-mate at San Jose — completed the scoring injury time. It was a needed win for Honduras, who lost to Panama at home in the opening match of the round.

Despite absence of suspended midfielder Roger Espinoza, Honduras looked much the stronger side as they took their points total in Group C to four points.

Canada lead Group C with seven points after edging Panama 1-0 in Toronto. Dwayne De Rosario scored in the 77th minute, tapping in a free kick from the right by Atiba Hutchinson.

Panama, second in the group with six points, host Canada in Panama City on Tuesday.