(Reuters) -Canada reclaimed top spot in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 win over Honduras on Thursday, after the United States briefly led the standings thanks to their 1-0 win over El Salvador.
Mexico trailed 1-0 to Jamaica with less than 10 minutes left before Henry Martin and Alexis Vega scored from close range to snatch victory in Kingston.
Canada top the table on 19 points, one ahead of the United States, with Mexico third on 17 points.
The top three sides qualify automatically for the World Cup in Qatar, with the fourth-placed team, currently Panama on 14 points, going into an intercontinental playoff.
In San Pedro Sula, Honduran defender Denil Maldonado handed Canada the early advantage with an own goal in the 11th minute and Lille forward Jonathan David made it 2-0 with a sublime chip over the keeper in the 73rd minute.
The win extended Canada’s unbeaten streak in the final round of qualifiers to nine games, with a crucial home match against the United States set for Sunday in Hamilton.
The United States, held 1-1 by Jamaica in their previous qualifier, did not deliver the dominant performance against El Salvador they had hoped for, as freezing temperatures tested both teams in Columbus, Ohio.
Defender Antonee Robinson broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute, driving the ball home from close range after forward Jesus Ferreira headed to him.
Robinson then launched a celebratory backflip to the delight of a roaring home crowd.
“They made it difficult for us, they were aggressive,” Robinson told reporters. “We kept patient, we kept doing what was working.”
El Salvador, second bottom of the eight-team group, made a flurry of substitutions late in the second half but were unable to wrest back the momentum amid temperatures hovering around 31 degrees Fahrenheit (-0.56°C).
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Peter Rutherford)