FIFA World Cup Qualifying Wrap: United States stay in charge
By Football News
The United States have maintained their lead at the top of the CONCACAF World Cup standings with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Honduras.
AZ Alkmaar striker Jozy Altidore scored the goal for the USA with 17 minutes remaining, tucking home Fabian Johnson's cutback as the hosts notched their third-consecutive victory in CONCACAF's final round of qualifying for next year's World Cup.
With second-placed Costa Rica overcoming Panama 2-0 on Tuesday, Juergen Klinsmann's men had to win to stay top of the CONCACAF standings with the USA's triumph taking them to 13 points and maintaining their two-point lead over the Costa Ricans.
The USA dominated the World Cup qualifier at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, with 62 percent possession and 13 shots to Honduras' six.
But despite their raft of goal-scoring chances, the hosts had to wait until the 73rd minute to finally break through the Hondurans' stout defence, although Altidore did have a goal disallowed in the 60th minute for offside.
Graham Zusi was the architect of the actual goal, slipping the ball through to Johnson on the left-hand side of the box and the overlapping full-back found Altidore at the penalty spot, who finished with aplomb.
In Costa Rica, goals from Bryan Ruiz and Celso Borges just after half-time clinched three points for the home side as Panama lost their second game in a row.
Ruiz scored in the 49th minute and Borges doubled the hosts' lead four minutes later thanks to an assist from the former, ensuring Costa Rica keep pressure on the USA.
Mexico is third in the CONCACAF standings with eight points, while Honduras (seven points) are fourth.