The United States moved into prime position to qualify for its sixth straight World Cup, rallying from an early deficit to beat El Salvador, 2-1, last night in Sandy, Utah, on first-half goals by Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
Christian Castillo gave El Salvador a surprising lead in the 32d minute after a giveaway by Jonathan Bornstein, but Dempsey tied it with a diving header in the 41st and Altidore scored on a leaping header in the second minute of injury time. Landon Donovan set up both goals.
Tim Howard made a point-blank stop on William Reyes in the 87th to preserve the win, which improved the US to 4-0 at home in the final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Honduras (13 points) remained atop the standings by routing Trinidad and Tobago, 4-1. The US (4-2-1) also has 13 points, but is second because of goal differential. Mexico (12 points) shut out Costa Rica, 3-0, to take over third place.
The top three teams in the six-nation group qualify for next year’s tournament in South Africa, and the No. 4 team advances to a playoff against South America’s fifth-place finisher.
The Americans have three games left: Wednesday at Trinidad and Tobago, Oct. 10 at Honduras and Oct. 14 against Costa Rica at Washington, D.C. Sixteen or 17 points should be enough to secure the berth.
MLS - Jaime Moreno’s penalty-kick goal in the 58th minute lifted DC United to a 2-2 tie with FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas . . . Conor Casey scored in the 51st minute to lead the host Colorado Rapids to a 1-0 victory over Toronto FC.