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CONCACAF Roundup: Mexico Dethrone Costa Rica in Wacky Qualifying Weekend

CHICAGO - JULY 23:  (L-R) Giovani Dos Santos #17, Guillermo Franco #10 and Alberto Medina #7 of Mexico celebrate after Franco scored a goal in the second half against Costa Rica during their CONCACAF Cup Semifinal match at Soldier Field on July 23, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Eric GomezAnalyst ISeptember 6, 2009

It took a while.

It took four managers in two years and seven out of the 10 total games in the qualifying round, but today, Mexico is back in position to return to the World Cup in South Africa.

Mexico, who had not won outside of home in a qualifying match since June 15, 2008, strolled into San Jose on a bizarre artificial turf, with nine out of 10 spectators berating them, facing shoddy CONCACAF officiating and taking on the competition leader; and came out with a resounding 3-0 victory.

Giovani dos Santos gave Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp three poignant reasons for playing time with his masterful domination of the Costa Ricans.

With a spectacular goal from a volley as the first half wound down, and two fantastic plays that ended with Gio assisting teammates Guillermo Franco and Andres Guardado with goals in the second half.

Dos Santos has been mostly unused at Tottenham, while Franco has yet to latch on to a club after being released from Villareal in May. Currently, Argentinian club Estudiantes La Plata are the most serious bidders for Franco.

Costa Rica, had been the unquestioned leader of the competition since the beginning of the summer.

They hadn't dropped below second place but are now in fourth place, in the dreaded playoff zone which will have them square off against a South American side.

Mexico's trouncing of Costa Rica squeezes them into the top three which has Honduras ahead of the USA on goal difference and both teams in front of Mexico by just one point.

Meanwhile, the USA defeated El Salvador at home 2-1 after being behind thanks to Christian Castillo's goal in the 32nd minute.

The Americans, sans Oguchi Onyewu and Jay DeMerit, also lost Charlie Davies to injury in the 71st minute.

With the win, El Salvador is practically eliminated from the competition, with just five points in seven games, with three contests remaining.

The defeat might be the swan song for Mexican manager Carlos de los Cobos, which has been at odds with the Salvadoran federation of late.

In Honduras, the new leaders stomped on Trinidad & Tobago, who find themselves in last place thanks to goal difference with five points.

Honduras, who have scored eight goals in the last two games, reached first place thanks to their victory and the Costa Rican loss.

Carlos Pavon scored twice while Inter star David Suazo made his first appearance in months for "los catrachos", entering in the 58th minute, scoring 25 minutes later.

Amado Guevara struck home the other Honduran goal, while Jerry Baptiste bagged the lone score for Trinidad & Tobago. Guevara has the most caps in Honduran national team history with over 125.

Honduras is in line to attend their first World Cup since 1982, where they were placed with hosts Spain, and finished in last place with two draws and a loss.

The next round in qualifying is this Wednesday, with Mexico taking on Honduras at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the United States facing Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean isle, and Costa Rica visiting El Salvador to close out the schedule.

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