Fulham defender Antonee Robinson scored the lone goal as the United States got closer to World Cup qualifiers on Thursday with a 1-0 win over El Salvador. Robinson finished in 52 minutes on an icy Lower Field in Columbus, Ohio, to give the US another three precious points in the CONCACAF qualifying race for Qatar. But it was a largely unconvincing win for US coach Gregg Berhalter’s side, who struggled to tear down a tenacious El Salvador team that sits at the bottom of the eight-team qualifying table.
The win puts the US at the top of the standings with 18 points from nine games, although Canada could regain top spot later Thursday, pending the outcome of their away game against Honduras.
In other games on Thursday, Mexico resumed their push for qualification after a battleable 2-1 win over Jamaica in Kingston.
Mexico is one point behind the US with 17 points from nine games.
The Columbus game had started in freezing temperatures of around 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 degrees Celsius), but the hosts were unable to take full advantage of the cold conditions.
The US controlled possession in the first half, but failed to make their dominance of possession and territory count.
FC Dallas striker Jesus Ferreira lost the home side’s best two chances, who failed to get a shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
Ferreira missed a promising early opportunity in the 16th minute when he fired a shot over the bar from eight yards after being worked into space.
The 21-year-old should have put the US ahead three minutes later. Sergino Dest of Barcelona shot down the right wing and drove in a cross that was thrown in by Timothy Weah.
The ball fell invitingly to Ferreira on the edge of the six-yard area, but instead of stopping him with his left foot, the youngster tried to finish clumsily with the outside of his right shoe and his effort flew over.
The US picked up the pace early in the second half and eventually resistance erupted in El Salvador.
Weah’s shot was blocked and Ferreira headed over the goal to Robinson, who pushed in the 1-0 in the rebound.
The US will face Canada in Ontario on Sunday for a home game against Honduras next Wednesday.
In Kingston, meanwhile, Mexico avoided a third loss in a row with their win over the Reggae Boyz.
Jamaica was startled by a red card to Damion Lowe, but took a shocking lead in the 50th minute via Daniel Johnson.
But just as it looked like Mexico was losing for the third consecutive time, Henry Martin’s header made it 1-1 in the 82nd minute, moments later Alexis Vega shoved in the winner on a penalty of slack marker at the back post. .
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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