Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/16/13
The United States eliminates Panama and hands Mexico a ticket to a playoff in New Zealand Kyle Rivas, Getty images The United States came to the aid of a dilapidated Mexico side to eliminate Panama and carry El Tri to a playoff Down Under. A drenched, disfigured pitch is all that was left in San Jose after a 2-1 defeat to Costa Rica. With just minutes to go and on the brink of elimination El Tri looked depleted. Fans trembled in disbelief. Panama was in and Mexico was out. A dream was slipping away and fans could do nothing about it. But two miraculous goals in injury time from the Stars and Stripes handed El Tri its last chance. Squashing Panamas hopes of reaching a World Cup in the process defeating them 3-2. The US looked a savage beast in the closing minutes of the game, taking heads and devouring dreams. No one could have imagined the Yanks ever doing El Tri any favors. The Yanks pushed hard for a late equalizer when they could have easily sat back and closed out the game having already qualified. Certainly US fans would have enjoyed seeing their bitter rivals off in dramatic fashion. One would have expected it. But it didn’t happen. One has to imagine the Yanks were conscious of what they were doing. Handing El Tri a much needed lifeline and ticket to Wellington. Buried in ridicule throughout qualifying, Mexico has to count its lucky stars it still has life. It could have easily been all over for El Tri. JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images El Tri’s qualifying campaign has been quite possibly its worst to date. There is no doubt that there is a deep-rooted issue in the squad that has created a lack of confidence in their play. How far back the issue goes is unknown. What is certain is that it must be addressed as soon as possible. El Tri has run out of lifelines. Luck has certainly been on Mexico’s side. El Tri will have to take advantage of the nine lives its been given. Mexico will have to travel to New Zealand with a new mentality. The two-leg playoff will be a lively affair. In the end only one will obtain a ticket to Brazil. Wellington is the last stop to Brazil.    
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