The United States have recorded a vital 2-0 win over traditional CONCACAF rivals Mexico in World Cup qualifying with Christian Pulisic scoring with his first touch of the game and Weston McKennie icing the contest in the 85th minute on Friday night.
After falling to the Mexicans 2-1 in November 2016, the US reverted to the traditional scoreline that marked the four previous home qualifying matchups – all in Columbus, Ohio.
Still regaining fitness after spraining his left ankle in September at Honduras, 23-year-old Chelsea attacker Pulisic was a 69th-minute substitute and lifted the hosts into a first-place tie with Mexico as the 14-game final round of qualifying reached the halfway point.
Tim Weah, the son of Liberia president and former FIFA Player of the Year George Weah, crossed for Pulisic to head home past goalkeeper David Ochoa on 74 minutes for his 17th international goal.
McKennie, dropped from the roster for two matches for violating team COVID-19 protocols, scored his eighth US goal after exchanging passes with Jesus Ferreira.
However, McKennie is suspended for Tuesday’s qualifier at Jamaica after getting his second yellow card of the competition, while defender Miles Robinson will also miss the match after receiving two yellows, the second causing the US to play a man short after the 89th minute.
Earlier, Panama rallied for a 3-2 win at last-place Honduras, Canada won 1-0 at home to Costa Rica, and El Salvador drew 1-1 against visiting Jamaica.
The US are first in the North and Central American and Caribbean region with 14 points, ahead of Mexico on goal difference. Canada have 13 points, Panama 11, Costa Rica, Jamaica and El Salvador six each and Honduras three.
Three nations from the eight-team group qualify for next year’s tournament in Qatar and the fourth-place team advances to a playoff.