In one of the most, if not the most intense, nerve-racking ending 5 minutes in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying history, the United States gave Mexico the present of ‘life’. As Mexico was losing 2-1 in Costa Rica and on the verge of elimination, Panama was defeating the USMNT 2-1. That meant Panama was going to end in 4th place, eliminate Mexico, and play in the playoff game against New Zealand in November; then the unimaginable happened. The USA scored two goals in the last 3 minutes to defeat Panama 3-2.
The game began with Panama controlling the match, as the USMNT used mostly bench players and had no real pressure to win the game. In the first half Panama scored the first goal, giving life to the ‘canaleros’. The first half ended with the Panamanian lead, while at that point was eliminated as Mexico was also tied 1-1.
The second half was much more intense because Panama knew they needed one thing; to win. With 20 minutes left in the game Luis Tejada scored what at that point would have been the greatest, most important goal in Panama’s history. With the 2-1 lead, and Mexico losing in Costa Rica, Panama was in the wild-card seed.
Then in the 91st minute the United States, Mexico greatest rival, took Mexico off their grave. With a nice header from Zusi, the USMNT tied the game 2-2. That destroyed Panama, and shortly after Johansson scored the final 3-2. With that loss, Panama is eliminated from the World Cup, while Mexico will play New Zealand in November.
Enjoy the Panama vs USA 2-3 Highlights: