REUTERS - The United States and Mexico both opened their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaigns with 3-1 wins while Honduras suffered a surprise loss in the opening fixtures of the third round.
The Americans beat Antigua and Barbuda in their CONCACAF Group A encounter in Florida with captain Carlos Bocanegra, Clint Dempsey and Herculez Gomez all scoring.
Antigua replied with a goal from substitute Peter Byers but were unable to find the net again as the U.S. sealed the win with Gomez’s strike after 71 minutes.
“At the end of the day, I think the three points is the starting point that we wanted to have,” U.S. manager Juergen Klinsmann told reporters.
Carlos Salcido and Giovani Dos Santos both scored inside the first 15 minutes as Mexico cruised to victory over Guyana in Group B.
Mexico increased their lead when John Rodrigues scored an own goal but Guyana pulled one back when Mexico’s Hector Moreno deflected the ball into his own goal just after the hour mark.
Honduras, who represented CONCACAF in the last World Cup alongside the U.S. and Mexico, were beaten 2-0 at home by Panama in Group C, with Blas Miguel scoring both goals in the second half.
Canada held on to beat Cuba 1-0 in Havana despite having goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld sent off in the second half, also in Group C.
Olivier Occean won it for the visitors with a header after 54 minutes but Canada were then reduced to 10 men when Hirschfeld was red carded after 63 minutes for handling the ball outside the penalty area.
“One chance, one goal, that’s what we were looking for,” Occean said. “At halftime we discussed it. Once we get a chance, we have to have it on target and that’s it. We got our chance and one goal three points. It’s fantastic.”
Demar Phillips and Ryan Johnson both scored to lead Jamaica to a 2-1 win over Guatemala in Group A, extending their unbeaten streak to 13 games against the Central Americans.
In the other Group B match, Costa Rica were held to a 2-2 draw by El Salvador, who did well to battle back from a two-goal deficit after just 15 minutes.
The top two teams from each of the three groups advance to a final single pool round with the leading three booking automatic berths for the Brazil finals.
Editing by John O'Brien