• FT

    USA

    2

    El Salvador

    1

  • FT

    Honduras

    4

    Trin & Tob

    1

  • FT

    Costa Rica

    0

    Mexico

    3

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING - CONCACAF

Rio Tinto Stadium

Referee: Jose (HON) | Attendance: 19066

* Local time based on your geographic location.

United States

  • Clint Dempsey 41'
  • Jozy Altidore 45'

2 - 1

FT

El Salvador

  • Cristian Castillo 32'

Altidore, Dempsey rally U.S. to comeback win

SANDY, Utah -- The United States is getting good at coming from behind in World Cup qualifiers.

The Americans rallied from an early deficit and beat El Salvador 2-1 on Saturday night, moving into prime position to qualify for its sixth straight World Cup.

Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore scored on headers late in the first half off passes from Landon Donovan, and the U.S. held on to improve to 4-0 at home in the final round of qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

"Soccer is a crazy sometimes. You can take the initiative in the game but that doesn't mean that you score first," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "Hopefully that's something that we can turn around, but it's still nice to see everybody understand that the game's not over at that point."

The United States (4-2-1) has 13 points with three games left: Wednesday at Trinidad and Tobago, Oct. 10 at Honduras and Oct. 14 against Costa Rica at Washington, D.C.

Honduras, which routed T&T 4-1, also has 13 points and leads the U.S. on goal difference. Mexico and Costa Rica (both 4-3) are one point back following El Tri's 3-0 win at Los Ticos.

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.

"We've got three more tough games, but if we continue to get points we're going to be all right," said Dempsey, who atoned for an early miss with a diving header to tie it in the 41st minute.

Altidore put the U.S. head with a leaping header in the second minute of injury time, and Tim Howard made a point-blank stop on William Reyes in the 87th to preserve the win, his fourth save of the night.

"I think those two quick goals hurt us," El Salvador midfielder Arturo Alvarez said. "That's the way soccer is sometimes."

Christian Castillo had given El Salvador a surprising lead in the 32nd minute after a giveaway by Jonathan Bornstein.

It was the second straight time the U.S. came from behind to win a home qualifier. Before defeating Honduras 2-1 at Chicago on June 6, the Americans hadn't won a qualifier in which they trailed since 1985. The United States is 17-0-1 at home in qualifying since a 3-2 loss to Honduras in September 2001 at RFK Stadium.

"The best part was the response when we went down," Bradley said. "It's never easy. You feel that pressure for a moment, but there was a real strong response from everybody on the field. That says a lot about what these guys are all about. They understand how difficult these games are."

The U.S. was without defenders Oguchi Onyewu (one-game suspension for yellow cards) and Jay DeMerit (strained groin). In addition, forward Charlie Davies limped off in the 71st minute with a bruised left calf.

Castillo, who scored for a two-goal lead against the United States in the 2-2 qualifying tie at San Salvador on March 28, outjumped Jonathan Spector to score the first goal. Bornstein had given the ball away with an overhead clearance attempt that landed at the top of the penalty area.

El Salvador, close to eliminated, lost by one goal for the fifth straight qualifier.

"They tried hard, unfortunately we didn't get enough results," El Salvador coach Carlos de los Cobos said. "I always say we have to win with goals instead of hopes."

Donovan played with swine flu in a 2-1 loss at Mexico last month, but was back to speed.

Dempsey, whose attempt went wide on an open shot off a Davies cross in the 28th minute, got behind the defense on Donovan's free kick and headed past goalkeeper Miguel Montes. That prompted the first loud cheers for the American fans since the game started.

Donovan's move from the run of play created the second goal. From the flank, he made a 30-yard pass to Altidore, who headed home for his team-high sixth goal in qualifying.

"Landon played two great balls," Altidore said. "The first one, he put it on a platter for Clint."

The U.S. fans had been drown out by the blue-clad Salvadoran fans up until Dempsey's goal. Chants of "U-S-A!" rang through halftime and into the second half.

Altidore, playing for the U.S. for first time since his debut for Hull of England's Premier League, leaped for the ball and headed it in the net in the 58th. The goal was disallowed by Honduran referee Jose Pineda, apparently because the 19-year-old forward nudged a defender.