Win helps Mexico reach one-game playoff for final spot.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson scored in second-half stoppage time, and the United States rallied for a 3-2 win at Panama on Tuesday night that left Mexico's World Cup hopes alive and knocked out the Panamanians.
The U.S., which clinched a World Cup berth last month, didn't use most of its starters, and Gabriel Torres put Panama ahead in the 18th minute in a downpour at Panama City. Michael Orozco tied it the 64th minute, just as Costa Rica took a 2-1 lead at home against Mexico.
Luis Tejada scored in the 83rd, putting Panama within minutes of a fourth-place finish and a berth in next month's playoff against Oceania champion New Zealand. Mexico, which last missed the World Cup in 1990, would have been eliminated.
But Zusi scored 1:24 into three minutes of stoppage time, and Johannsson added his first international goal at the 2:40 mark to seal the U.S. win and Panama's elimination.
The Americans finished with a record-tying 22 points in the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.
It was a similar finish to four years ago, when Jonathan Bornstein's goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time gave the U.S. a 2-2 tie against Costa Rica.
The U.S. (7-2-1) and Costa Rica (5-2-3) already had clinched berths last month, and Honduras (4-3-3) earned the region's final automatic spot with a 2-2 tie at last-place Jamaica (0-5-5).
Mexico (2-3-5) finished fourth with 11 points, three ahead of Panama (1-4-5), which has never played in soccer's top event.