Costa Rica, El Salvador qualify for Gold Cup
El Salvador earned a berth in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup by way of a 5-2 drubbing of Belize in a Copa Centroamericana tilt on Sunday in Panama City.
It was La Selecta's second win in two days of the tournament, having dispatched of Nicaragua, 2-0, on Friday.
El Salvador's Rafael Burgos tallied a goal either side of halftime after former Chivas USA midfielder Osael Romero volleyed home Deris Umanzor's cross from the left in the 16th minute.
Fire defender Umanzor added a goal of his own in the 59th minute by turning in Jaime Alas' cutback, but not before Burgos and Alas had put El Salvador well ahead with strikes in the 46th and 54th minutes, respectively. Belize had pulled within a goal at halftime.
[inline_node:326650]RSL's Arturo Alvarez started his second-straight match up top for La Selecta and watched his rolling effort cleared off the line in the 16th minute.
Costa Rica will join El Salvador at the Gold Cup after securing a berth with a 2-0 defeat of Guatemala.
Los Ticos had tied their opening match of the tournament, 1-1, with Honduras on Friday after conceding a injury-time goal. There would be no such drama on Sunday, however, as Marcos Urena scored twice in the second half to ease past Los Chapines.
Chivas USA's Dario Delgado lined up on the Costa Rica defense alongside the New York Red Bulls' Roy Miller and former Philadelphia Union flop David Myrie.
Sunday's Copa Centroamericana action continues on Sunday as hosts Panama take on Nicaragua in the late tilt. Five teams qualify for the CONCACAF Gold Cup by way of the seven-team tournament, which wraps up its group stages on Tuesday.
El Salvador and Costa Rica join the United States, Canada and Mexico, who received automatic berths to the summer tournament, as well as Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Cuba and Grenada, who earned their places through Caribbean zone qualifying.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup, hosted by the United States, gets underway on June 4 and will be held across 13 venues, including four MLS stadiums.
CONCACAF also announced on Sunday that it would fight for a fourth automatic berth for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The confederation currently receives three automatic berths, with the opportunity for a fourth coming from a playoff match against a CONMEBOL opponent.
“We believe that CONCACAF deserves another full place at the World Cup finals due to the performances of our teams on the field and the actions of our confederation off it,” CONCACAF president Jack Warner said in a statement. “We are unified in our efforts to make this happen.”
In qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, Costa Rica lost the two-legged play-in to eventual semifinalists Uruguay.