The international break for MLS teams like Chivas USA is about to end, and the Goats' two players on international duty this time around, Ante Jazic and Oswaldo Minda, both saw some action for their respective countries in the latest 2014 World Cup Qualifiers. Happily, they also helped their team get results in the latest round.
On Sunday, Minda entered for Ecuador in their 1-0 win over Colombia in Quito as a very late substitute. Club America's Christian Benitez scored the winner for Ecuador in the 54th minute, and was the player Minda replaced at the end of the match. Obviously, Benitez being a scorer and Minda being a defensive-minded midfielder, Ecuador coach Reinaldo Rueda probably brought the Chivas USA man on to provide more defensive coverage. He was also likely brought on to waste time at the end of the match. Still, Minda was on the pitch, and his team got the win. That result puts Ecuador in 4th place in current CONMEBOL standings, a good position considering the top four from the region are guaranteed a place in the 2014 World Cup. Well done Oswaldo!Meanwhile, Jazic played another 90 minutes Tuesday for Canada, this time in a 0-0 draw with Honduras in Toronto. Playing his third match for Canada in nine days, Jazic put in another strong shift to help Canada earn a vital point in CONCACAF qualifying, and while many Canadian fans felt their team should have gotten at least a goal and picked up three points, the defense cannot be faulted for keeping a third consecutive clean sheet. Even after having to change goalkeepers in the middle of the last match for a red card offense, Canada has not allowed a goal in three matches. Congrats Ante! Impressive stuff, and Canada's second place position in Group C puts them in position to advance to the final round of CONCACAF qualifying, the Hexagonal, if they continue this form.
In non-Chivas USA news, the United States drew 1-1 with Guatemala Tuesday. Clint Dempsey gave the Americans the lead late in the first half, but Marco Pappa (he of heartbreaking late screamers for the Chicago Fire) hit a fantastic 25 yard free kick to bring the hosts level in the 83rd minute. Although there were some trademark dodgy refereeing decisions, and although the USMNT played poorly for long stretches of the match, it was a road point in difficult conditions, and that can't be entirely discounted. The result leaves the U.S. tied atop Group A with Jamaica, who they will play in September when qualifiers resume.
Mexico beat El Salvador 2-1 in San Salvador Tuesday, with goals from Monterrey's Jesus Zavala and Espanyol's Hector Moreno. In what is surely good news for Mexico fans and bad news for everybody else, these were the first senior international goals scored by Zavala and Moreno. As a result of the win, Mexico are in first place in Group B.
What do you think? Who was most impressive in these recent matches? Least impressive? Leave a comment below!