International roundup: How MLSers fared on FIFA date
More than 30 MLS players were in action across four continents during the October FIFA international fixture date. Here’s a look at how they did.
In Europe, Ireland took care of business, beating Andorra 2-0 last Friday and Armenia 2-1 on Tuesday to clinch second place in Group B of Euro 2012 qualifying and a spot in the final qualifying playoffs next month.
They may be without LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane, however, who was held out of Tuesday’s game with an adductor injury he aggravated after going 90 against Andorra and could miss a month of action. Ireland learn their playoff opponents on Thursday.
Back in CONCACAF, Portland Timbers defender Steve Purdy scored his first international goal as El Salvador crushed Cayman Islands 4-0 at Estadio Cuscatlán on Tuesday. The Salvadorans sit atop Group A in the second round of World Cup qualifying.
In Group B, Trinidad and Tobago rebounded from a shock loss to Bermuda last Friday by dominating Barbados 4-0 on Tuesday. Philadelphia Union midfielder Keon Daniel started for T&T but came off at halftime after going 67 against the Bermudans. Columbus defender Julius James went 90 in both games.
The Soca Warriors trail first-place Guyana by a point in the race to secure the lone spot to advance out of the group – they face each other twice next month.
In Group E, Chicago's Marco Pappa played the first half only in Guatemala's breezy 3-1 win over Belize on Tuesday. Sporting Kansas City's Craig Rocastle went all 90 in midfield in Grenada's 4-1 win over the same Belize side last Friday. Guatemala lead the group with a perfect 12 points through four games.
In Group F, Haiti followed up their 7-0 drubbing of the US Virgin Islands last Friday by rallying for a 2-2 draw against visiting Curaçao on Tuesday.
Colorado Rapids ‘keeper Steward Ceus backstopped the Haitians in both games, while Portland’s James Marcelin followed up his goal-scoring performance on Friday with a second-half appearance against Curaçao. Sporting KC’s Peterson Joseph went all 90 on Tuesday.
Toronto FC striker Javier Martina went 86 minutes for Curaçao and was an 80th minute sub on Friday against Antigua and Barbuda, who lead the group by two points and face second-place Haiti twice next month.
Down in South America’s World Cup qualifying tournament, Portland Timbers Designated Player Diego Chara received his second cap for Colombia as a second-half sub, and was on the pitch when los Cafeteros earned a late equalizer and a stoppage-time winner in a 2-1 thriller at high altitude in Bolivia.
In Venezuela, Chivas USA forward Alejandro Moreno was an 88th-minute substitution in the hosts’ stunning 1-0 upset of Argentina. He was a halftime sub four days earlier in Venezuela’s 2-0 loss to Ecuador.
Meanwhile, in Africa, New York Red Bulls 'keeper Bouna Coundoul's Senegal side will be the only team featuring an MLS player to qualify for the 2012 African Cup of Nations to feature after all the remaining teams were effectively eliminated on the final matchday of qualifying.
In Group F, The Gambia suffered a heartbreaker as Burkina Faso scored in the 90th minute for a 1-1 draw, canceling out Portland defender Futty Danso's brilliant 59th-minute header and sending the Scorpions home.
In the strangest twist, Kei Kamara and Sierra Leone drew 0-0 in their crucial Group G finale with South Africa on Saturday. With Sierra Leone, Niger and South Africa all tied on nine points, the South Africans believed they had advanced to the Cup of Nations with a superior plus-two goal differential. But it turned out Niger were the group-winners with the head-to-head record and rendered the celebrations void.
In other friendly action, Real Salt Lake’s Álvaro Saborío, New York’s Roy Miller and Chivas USA’s Michael Umaña all went 90 in Costa Rica's 1-0 loss to Brazil last Friday at Estadio Saprissa.
Over in England, Columbus Crew midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo saw 16 minutes of action as a second-half sub in Nigeria's scoreless draw against Ghana. The result comes just three days after the Super Eagles crashed out of the African Cup of Nations qualifying with a 2-2 tie against Guinea.
Down in Central America, Honduras overcame CONCACAF rivals Jamaica 2-1 in a friendly played in the port city of La Ceiba. Sporting KC's Roger Espinoza started and went the distance for los Catrachos, while his teammate Shavar Thomas, Colorado's Omar Cummings, New York's Dane Richards and Houston's Jermaine Taylor and Je-Vaughn Watson all saw time for the Reggae Boyz.
Honduras' win comes off the heels of a 1-0 friendly defeat to the US last Saturday, a match in which Espinoza and Houston's Carlo Costly both started while FC Dallas' Marvin Chávez and also saw playing time.