Mexico boosted their once-flagging World Cup qualification hopes as they won 3-0 away at Costa Rica via goals from Giovani Dos Santos, Guillermo Franco and Andres Guardado.
|Javier Aguirre has steadied the ship since the departure of Sven-Goran Eriksson as coach [AFP]
The United States also moved into prime position to qualify for their sixth straight World Cup, coming from behind to beat El Salvador 2-1 with first-half goals by Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.
In the other Concacaf qualifying match on Saturday, Honduras swamped Trinidad and Tobago 4-1 with two goals from Carlos Pavon and one each from Amado Guevara and David Suazo.
Mexico sparred cautiously in the opening exchanges with a Costa Rica side missing injured captain and playmaker Walter Centeno.
The Mexicans took the lead as the half was ending when Cuauhtemoc Blanco switched play and found Dos Santos, who advanced on goal before unleashing an unstoppable low drive past goalkeeper Keylor Navas into the far corner.
Mexico sealed the match in the second half with a devastating display of counter attacking.
Efrain Juarez broke into the Costa Rica half and released Dos Santos, who forced his way into the box and squared for Franco to tap into an empty net in the 61st minute.
Mexico repeated the trick in the 70th when Guardado collected a cleared corner in his own half and freed Dos Santos behind the suddenly-outnumbered home defence.
Dos Santos drew Navas out of goal and slid the ball back to Guardado for another simple finish.
"It's a great result," Juarez said.
"We played a good game. Now we have to continue it against Honduras."
Christian Castillo gave El Salvador a surprise lead against the US in the 32nd minute
after a giveaway by Jonathan Bornstein.
It was cause for American concern, as they hadn't come from behind to win a World Cup qualifier since 1985.
However Clint Dempsey equalised in the 41st and Altidore made it 2-1 in first-half stoppage time.
Landon Donovan set up both goals, the first with a free kick and the second with a long cross.
Tim Howard made a point-blank stop on a William Reyes shot in the 87th to preserve the lead, as the US improved to four straight wins at home in the final round of qualifying.
"We've got three more tough games, but if we continue to get points we're going to be all right," said Dempsey.
Honduras and the United States have 13 points each to lead qualifying.
Mexico and Costa Rica have 12.
When qualifying ends next month, the top three teams advance automatically to the 32-team tournament in South Africa.
The fourth-placed team faces a playoff with the fifth from South America for another berth.
Qualifying continues on Wednesday with USA away at Trinidad, Mexico hosting Honduras and Costa Rica visiting El Salvador.