World Cup Qualifying: Mexico top Jamaica while Tim Cahill, Australia let it slip away vs. Japan
Ten teams from across the globe answered the World Cup qualifying bell on Tuesday, including two that featured MLS-based players. Neither came away happy.
In what was the main event as far as CONCACAF was concerned, Mexico went into "The Office" in Kingston, Jamaica and found the result they wanted, a 1-0 win courtesy of an Aldo de Nigris header early in the second half. The win is Mexico's first of the Hexagonal after three draws, and provisionally sees them to the top of the table with six points through four games. Jamaica, who face the US on Friday, remain last with two draws and two losses through their four games.
Portland Timbers men Donovan Ricketts and Ryan Johnson, as well as FC Dallas midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson all got the start for the Reggae Boyz. Johnson came achingly close to a goal in the 54th minute, only to see his close-range header saved spectacularly by Jesus Corona in one of the plays of the round thus far. Both Johnson and Watson were subbed off in the 63rd minute, with Vancouver's Darren Mattocks one of the replacements.
Hours earlier and on the other side of the world, Australia came within minutes of a dream win in Japan, but surrendered a stoppage time penalty for a 1-1 draw. With the result, Japan became the first country to officially qualify for the 2014 finals in Brazil.
Tim Cahill of the New York Red Bulls went the full 90 for the Australians, who now sit third in their group (1-1-4, 7 points) behind Japan (4-1-2, 14 points) and Oman (2-2-3, 9 points). The top two teams in both groups qualify automatically, while the third place teams go into a head-to-head playoff for the final spot from the Asian federation.