Mexico rights the ship, cruises past 10-man Honduras

Sebastián Córdova (#6) runs toward the corner flag after scoring the opener for Mexico. Raúl Jiménez trots along to join the celebration. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Sebastián Córdova (#6) runs toward the corner flag after scoring the opener for Mexico. Raúl Jiménez trots along to join the celebration. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
Mexico beats Honduras M5
US referee Ismail Elfath shows Honduras skipper Maynor Figueroa a red card after a crunching tackle in minute 54. Mexico went on to win 3-0. (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP via Getty Images) /

Sebastián Córdova scored early, while Rogelio Funes Mori and “Chucky” Lozano added second-half goals after Honduras had been reduced to 10 men.

Paired with other results, the 3-0 victory moved Mexico back atop the Concacaf table after five rounds of games and sent Honduras into the cellar.

All eight teams are back in action on Wednesday for Matchday 6 in the 14-game qualifying marathon that will award three World Cup berths for Qatar 2022.

El Tri now has 11 points, followed by Team USA and Panama (8), then Canada (7), Costa Rica (6) and El Salvador (5). Honduras and Jamaica bring up the rear with 3 points.

Mexico steady, not spectacular

Under pressure to produce for the home crowd after dropping points at Fortress Azteca to Canada, Mexico was meticulous on offense, perhaps too deliberate. “Tecatito” Corona was out of sorts and Raúl Jiménez struggled to find room to operate.

In minute 18, “Chucky” mishandled the ball in the Honduras half, but snatched it back and fed Héctor Herrera who found “Tecatito” cutting to the back post. The ball popped loose, but “Chucky” hustled in for a steal, quickly firing a shot from 15 meters. The shot was blocked by a back-side defender, the ball spun out toward Jiménez but Maynor Figueroa poked it out of Raúl’s reach, whereupon Córdova pounced on the loose ball and popped it home.

Mexico created a few more chances before halftime (Raúl hit the short-side post with a header, “Tecatito” scuffed a shot to waste a nice feed from “Chucky,” Raúl misplayed a wall pass that might have sprung “Chucky” free, and Honduras goalie Luis López denied “Chucky” on a breakaway).

Four minutes after the restart, Figueroa was sent to the showers after chopping down Jiménez as Raúl spun past him. It was only a matter of time before Mexico found the net again, although López made three splendid saves (denying “Chucky” for a second time in minute 71), making six saves in all.

Funes Mori converted another rebound goal for Mexico in minute 76, collecting a loose ball after an Edson Álvarez shot clanged off the post before pin-balling across the crease. “Chucky” finally got his goal in minute 86, working a nifty give-and-go with sub Orbelín Pineda.

Elsewhere across Concacaf

The big surprise was in Panama where the hosts stunned Team USA 1-0, knocking the Americans out of first place. The win boosted “Los Canaleros” into a second-place tie with the U.S.

Costa Rica earned its first victory of the qualifying campaign, beating visiting El Salvador 1-1. Meanwhile, playing Jamaica, Canada appeared to suffer a letdown after its brilliant showing against Mexico on Thursday. The Canucks settled for a scoreless draw against the “Reggae Boyz.”

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Round 6 of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers is set for Wednesday, Oct. 13. Mexico visits El Salvador, Team USA hosts Costa Rica, Honduras is at home against Jamaica and Panama travels to Canada.