Mexico suffered only their second ever qualifying defeat in the Azteca Stadium with a 2-1 loss to Honduras on Friday that increases the pressure on coach Jose Manuel de la Torre and leaves ‘El Tri’ with plenty of work to do to qualify for Brazil.
Costa Rica, who top the CONCACAF region standings, took a step towards booking their place at next year’s finals with an impressive 3-1 win over the United States while Panama were held to a goalless draw at home to Jamaica in the other game.
After seven rounds of matches, Costa Rica have 14 points, the United States 13, Honduras moved up to 10 points while Mexico are in fourth place, outside the automatic qualification slots on eight points in the final stage six-team group.
Panama are on seven and Jamaica are bottom of the standings on three points.
Mexico’s biggest worry going into Friday’s game was a lack of attacking efficiency at home after their three previous qualifiers at the Azteca had all ended in goalless draws.
Seeking to address the issue, De la Torre left Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez on the bench and started with Oribe Peralto in attack with the move paying off instantly.
Giovani dos Santos burst down the left flank and picked out Peralto with a low cross, which the striker calmly slotted home to end Mexico’s home goal drought after just six minutes.
Mexico seemed in control but the introduction of Jerry Bengtson to the Honduran attack changed the game.
Carlos Costly’s powerful drive was parried out by Jose Corona and Bengtson reacted quickly to tap in the loose ball for a 64th minute equaliser.
Two minutes later, Costly grabbed the winner when he bustled past Diego Reyes before unleashing a superb shot into the far corner.