Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson scored in second-half stoppage time, and the United States rallied for a 3-2 victory at Panama on Tuesday night that left Mexico’s World Cup hopes alive and knocked out the Panamanians.
The United States, which clinched a berth in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil last month, didn’t use most of its starters.
Gabriel Torres put Panama ahead in the 18th minute in a downpour in Panama City.
Michael Orozco of the United States tied the score in the 64th minute.
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Luis Tejada scored in the 83rd to give Panama a 2-1 lead.
But Zusi scored 1:24 into three minutes of stoppage time, and Johannsson added his first international goal at the 2:40 mark to seal a U.S. victory and Panama’s elimination from World Cup qualifying.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said, “It shows you how brutal football can be . . . Now obviously you feel for the people. You feel for an entire country.”
The United States, which has lost once in its last 16 matches, finished with a record-tying 22 points in the hexagonal, the final round of the North and Central American and Caribbean region.
The United States (7-2-1) and Costa Rica (5-2-3) finished one-two, and Honduras (4-3-3) earned the region’s final automatic spot with a 2-2 draw at Jamaica (0-5-5).
Assured of its seventh straight World Cup berth, the United States was without many of its regulars because of either injuries or decisions to allow them to return to their clubs. Among the missing were Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, goalkeeper Tim Howard, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Sounders FC’s Clint Dempsey.
The U.S. team started two players who began the clinching match against Mexico: defender Clarence Goodson and midfielder Alejandro Bedoya.
Of Tuesday’s finish, Klinsmann said, “Maybe it’s a little bit in my culture. In the German culture, you never stop before the referee blows the whistle because I have won many, many games in the last minute.”
• Mexico, despite losing 2-1 at Costa Rica, will play New Zealand in a home-and-home series for a World Cup berth. Mexico will host the first leg on Nov. 13 or 14 and play at New Zealand on Nov. 20.
• England and defending champion Spain qualified for the World Cup, along with Russia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Meanwhile, Chile and Ecuador earned the final two automatic spots from South America.
Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard scored for host England in a 2-0 victory over Poland.
Spain beat visiting Georgia 2-0.