MLS international roundup
New Zealand's dreams of Germany 2006 dramatically came crashing to a halt on Sunday, when the Solomon Islands earned a 2-2 tie with Australia to earn a place in the final round of Oceania qualifying and eliminate the Kiwis from Germany 2006.
New Zealand defeated Fiji 2-0 on Sunday, but the single point the Solomon Islands gained was enough to keep them in second place ahead of New Zealand in the six-team final group. The Solomons and Australia will now play a home-and-home series to decide Oceania's representative for another home-and-home series, that one against the fifth-place South American team for a place in Germany 2006.
New Zealand's fate was really sealed on June 2, when they suffered a shocking defeat to Vanuatu, the tiny island's only victory in the five final round matches.
All-Whites boss Mick Waitt rested most of his first-choice players for that match, but for the final two matches, he used his full team. In a 10-0 victory against Tahiti on June 4, Columbus Crew midfielder Duncan Oughton scored his second goal of the competition, a 75th-minute strike to make the score 8-0, then D.C. United defender followed eight minutes later with his first goal of the final round.
Nelsen had returned to the lineup for the loss to Vanuatu after missing the first two matches with a groin strain, and played the entirety of the games against Tahiti and Fiji. Oughton also played the full 90 minutes in those games, while Crew teammate Simon Elliott came on as a halftime substitute against Tahiti, but did not play against Fiji.
World Cup qualifying also began in Africa over the weekend, where the MLS representatives saw mixed results.
In Kampala, Dallas Burn defender Tenywa Bonseu anchored a stout Uganda defense that used a 76th-minute goal for a victory against DR Congo. Ssozi whipped in a corner that Noah Kasule headed onto the crossbar, for Ibrahim Sekajja to snatch the game-winning strike.
Bonseu played the entire 90 minutes in central defense for Uganda, as the Cranes joined South Africa and Burkina Faso as opening day victors in Group Two. Uganda travel to Cape Verde Islands - a 2-1 loser to South Africa - on June 20.
In Tunis, Chicago Fire striker Dipsy Selolwane scored, but the Zebras still went down to a heavy 4-1 defeat by Tunisia.
Jose Clayton put the home side ahead in the ninth minute and Karim Hagui doubled it 10 minutes before the break. Selolwane scored in the 65th minute as Botswana looked like they were going to make a game of it, but Ali Zitouni and Hagui answered four minutes apart to give Tunisia the victory. Selolwane played the entire match.
Also in Group Five, Malawi shocked Morocco by snatching a 1-1 draw. Botswana play host to Malawi on June 18 in Gaborone.