Torres golazo helps Panama to crucial draw, gives everyone heart attacks
As the final whistle blew on the United States’ 2-0 win over Mexico, many American eyes immediately shifted from Columbus, Ohio to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. There, the Hondurans were taking on Panama — the fifth-placed team in the CONCACAF Hexagonal, desperately in need of a result to keep their qualification hopes alive. A Honduran win or a draw would secure qualification for the stars and stripes. A fair amount of drama followed.
As the final whistle blew in U.S.-Mexico, the second half of Honduras-Panama got underway. Carlo Costly had Honduras up 1-0. The Catrachos were at home. Things were looking good for the U.S.’s chances of securing qualification.
Then Gabriel Torres did this, and there was much yelling.
All of a sudden, things were looking a little iffy for the United States. As the game played out on the big screen at Columbus Crew Stadium, several hundred fans stayed behind to watch. The U.S. squad elected not to speak with the press until the game was over and done with.
Then Wilson Palacios did this, and there was much yelling.
With Honduras up 2-1, U.S. fans began to breathe easier. Chances are Mexican fans did, too. A Panama loss would put El Tri in sole possession of the fifth and final World Cup qualification spot — albeit one that would necessitate a home-and-home playoff with Oceania region champion New Zealand.
Then, in the 90th minute, Panamanian defender Roberto Chen did this, and there was…well, you get the idea.
That’s how the game ended — a 2-2 draw that made the United States happy with a World Cup place, Panama happy with a road point to pull even with Mexico, and Mexico somehow in a worse spot than when they started the day. Ain’t World Cup qualifying grand?