HAVANA (AFP) Clint Dempsey scored off a pass from Brian Ching in the 40th minute to give the United States a 1-0 victory over Cuba on Saturday in a 2010 South African World Cup qualifying match.
The victory boosted the Americans, who had not played there since 1947, to go top of Group One in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) second round.
The Cubans, who dropped their opener 3-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, will struggle to reach the final group to decide 2010 Cup teams while the Americans, who beat Guatemala 1-0 in their road opener, have all-but sealed a spot.
‘The pitch wasn’t the best, and we had some problems with the heat,’ said US goalkeeper Tim Howard. ‘This is the third straight qualifying win on the road for us and that will do wonders to building up our confidence.’
Trinidad and Tobago moved to second in the group – the top two from each of three groups advances to next year’s final round – with a 1-1 draw at Guatemala with Keon Daniel’s goal in the 84th minute matched by Carlos Santizo in the 90th.
Mexico seized the Group Two lead with a 3-0 home victory over Jamaica in a match moved from the Caribbean because of hurricane damage. Andres Guardado scored in the third minute with Fernando Arce following on 33 minutes and Jonny Magallan in the 63rd minute.
Honduras jumped to second in the group with a 2-1 victory at Canada, Ramon Nunez scoring in the 47th and 56th minutes to offset Adrian Serioux’s goal in the fourth minute at Montreal.
Costa Rica routed Suriname 7-0 to stretch their lead in Group Three while El Salvador blasted Haiti 5-0 in World Cup qualifiers Saturday.