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SOCCER ROUNDUP

U.S. salvages tie at El Salvador

Down 2-0, Americans get late goals from Altidore and Hejduk to secure a 2-2 draw.

March 29, 2009|Associated Press

Two goals down and 20 minutes from what would have been one of the worst defeats to a regional rival in years, the United States rallied for a dramatic draw.

Jozy Altidore started the comeback in the 77th minute and Frankie Hejduk scored the tying goal in the 88th, giving the Americans a 2-2 tie against El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday night at San Salvador.

"We knew we had to fight back, and credit to the guys that we did it," U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra said. "With this team, we never feel like we are out of the game."

El Salvador built a 2-0 lead against the U.S. in front of a boisterous crowd of 30,500 at Estadio Cuscatlan on goals by Eliseo Quintanilla in the 15th minute and Cristian Castillo in the 72nd.

"El Salvador played with a tremendous amount of energy. It was our challenge to match it," U.S. Coach Bob Bradley said. "When we found ourselves behind, it took a great effort from our players to fight back and come away with a point. We prepared for this game knowing that El Salvador would be difficult. We found ourselves behind, and that was not part of the plan."

The U.S. is 1-0-1 as it seeks its sixth straight World Cup berth.

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Mexico wins

Mexico ended a four-game winless streak in World Cup qualifying, easing pressure on Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson with a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica at Mexico City.

Omar Bravo scored in the 19th minute after his initial shot off a cross from Matias Vuoso was deflected by goalkeeper Ricardo Gonzalez. Pavel Pardo converted a penalty kick in the 52nd minute after he was fouled by Roy Myrie.

Mexico had been 0-3-1 in its last four qualifiers, all on the road.

In the other CONCACAF World Cup qualifier Saturday, second-half substitute Khaleem Hyland scored off a cross from Carlos Edwards in the 89th minute to give host Trinidad and Tobago a 1-1 tie against Honduras at Port of Spain. Former Galaxy forward Carlos Pavon gave Honduras a 1-0 lead in the 50th minute.

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Beckham record

David Beckham is all by himself when it comes to appearances by a nongoalkeeper on England's national team. Now, he has only Peter Shilton to catch, and he could do it at next year's World Cup.

Beckham entered his 109th international game at the start of the second half and set up a goal with a trademark cross in a 4-0 exhibition victory over Slovakia at Wembley Stadium.

"To play 109 times for England is obviously very special for me and for my family," said Beckham, whose wife, Victoria, and two sons were in an executive box. "I'll keep this cap for myself. It will be in my house in London, locked up."

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Elsewhere

In other selected World Cup qualifying games:

Lionel Messi scored in the 25th minute and Argentina routed visiting Venezuela, 4-0, in the home debut of Coach Diego Maradona. . . . Andrea Pirlo converted a penalty kick in the 11th minute and Giampaolo Pazzini scored in his international debut to lead Italy to a 2-0 victory at Montenegro. . . . Michael Ballack and Daniel Jansen scored in the first nine minutes for Germany, and Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski added second-half goals in a 4-0 win over visiting Liechtenstein.

European champion Spain extended its unbeaten streak to 30 games since November 2006 as Gerard Pique scored in the 61st minute in a 1-0 win over visiting Turkey. . . . Franck Ribery scored for France from 21 yards off a pass from Yoann Gourcuff in the 67th minute in a 1-0 win at Lithuania. . . . Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt scored to help the Netherlands take a major step toward qualifying with a 3-0 win over visiting Scotland.

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