Historic results for Jamaica, Canada highlight October WCQs
MIAMI.- After an exciting set of matches in October, FIFA World Cup qualification in the Concacaf region is set to resume next month, passing the halfway stage of the final round.
With all eight national teams in the final round playing three matches in October, there was plenty of magic that fans in the region will remember for months and years to come.
Concacaf.com looks back on five memorable moments from Matchdays 4, 5 and 6:
Moreno makes his mark in El Salvador again
Mexico sits atop the table as one of two teams still undefeated through six matches. That’s in no small part thanks to center back Hector Moreno.
The Monterrey man rose to nod in a corner kick and open the scoring in El Tricolor’s 2-0 victory in El Salvador. While the Estadio Cuscatlan can be an intimidating place to play, with Salvadoran fans cheering La Selecta on from the opening whistle until the final minute, Moreno feels right at home in El Salvador.
He also scored in the Cuscatlan in a third round World Cup qualification match in 2012 as Mexico advanced from Group B and eventually qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Moreno was on the mark again on the road to Russia 2018, finding the back of the net in a Fourth Round group match.
Roofe helps Reggae Boyz notch historic triumph
Jamaica has historically struggled to win in Honduras in World Cup qualification, with zero victories in six attempts. That changed on Wednesday night, when Jamaica was able to find its first victory of the final round with a 2-0 result over the hosts in San Pedro Sula.
Kemar Roofe, the Rangers forward who made his Jamaica debut earlier in the final round of World Cup qualification, found his first-ever international goal. Teammate Shamar Nicholson tried a shot from the corner of the box that Roofe deflected past Honduras GK Luis “Buba” Lopez.
From there, he was off to celebrate, with Oniel Fisher scoring a second to make sure Jamaica’s celebrations extended into the night.
Pepi powers U.S. past Jamaica in home state
An 18-year-old native of El Paso who plays his club soccer up the road with FC Dallas, Ricardo Pepi clearly feels at home at Q2 Stadium in Austin.
In the 49th minute of the United States’ match against Jamaica, he flicked a header from a Sergino Dest cross to the back post and in to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. He extended the advantage in the 62nd minute, sliding to put a touch on a low cross from Brendan Aaronson past Jamaica GK Andre Blake.
The goals meant Pepi was two for two in qualification after his tally in a 4-1 victory against Honduras that closed out the September for the U.S. That made him the youngest-ever U.S. player to score in consecutive qualifiers.
Pepi wasn’t on the mark in a 1-0 loss to Panama, but started in the North Americans’ 2-1 triumph over Costa Rica to close out October in second in the table.
Davies delight caps unbeaten window for Canada
Canada manager John Herdman went into the October window knowing it wouldn’t be easy, with trips to face Mexico and Jamaica and a lone home match against Panama.
Things got off to a strong start with a 1-1 draw in the Estadio Azteca, the first time Canada had picked up a World Cup qualification point in Mexico since a November 1981 draw in which there were goals from Ricardo Castro for the hosts and Ian Bridge for the visitors. Since then, Mexico had beaten Canada on five occasions.
After securing another point in Kingston, Canada went down early to Panama at a raucous BMO Field in Toronto. The Reds quickly turned the tide, however, as Alphonso Davies began to assert control on the match.
His corner kick in the 28th minute nearly found a teammate and a Panama defender turned it into his own net for a Canada equalizer.
Davies then dropped jaws with a stunning goal in the 66th minute, sprinting and keeping a ball in play that seemed headed out for a throw-in, then beating a defender in the box and scoring with a left-footed shot.
After Richie Laryea set up Tajon Buchanan in the 71st minute, Davies set up FW Jonathan David for the fourth goal of the night, as Canada wrapped up an undefeated October with a 4-1 victory.
Central Americans get off the mark with home victories
After a challenging start to qualification in September, a pair of hopefuls in Central America were able to start their quests for the top three places, with everything still to play for in upcoming windows.
Enrico Duenas found his first-ever goal for El Salvador, finishing off his own rebound after Panama GK Luis Mejia deflected his initial effort. La Selecta would make sure the goal stood, despite missing several defenders to injury, earning their first win and moving to five points.
Days later, El Salvador visited Costa Rica and had an early lead thanks to Jairo Henriquez. Costa Rica stormed back, however, with veteran MF Bryan Ruiz heading in a 52nd-minute equalizer and fellow 2014 FIFA World Cup hero Celso Borges converting from the penalty spot, as Los Ticos nabbed their first victory of the final round.
With every team fixing their eyes on the prize that is a spot in Qatar, there is little doubt the next round of matches will produce more memorable moments for fans in the region.