San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

La Sele beats Haiti 3-1

The Costa Rica men´s national soccer team beat Haiti last night 3-1, holding its place atop its World Cup qualifying group with a third straight win.

Despite four successive storms, including Hurricanes Ike and Gustav, that led to the deaths of at least 550 people in weeks prior, the game was played as scheduled on a water-logged field in the Sylvia Cator Stadium in Port-au-Prince.

Tico forward Bryan Ruiz drew first blood with a goal in the 12th minute, but Haiti responded with a goal in the 39th minute, and the two teams went into the halftime in a draw.

In the second half, the Haitians outscored La Sele, but only Tico shots found the net, as Ruíz notched his second goal in the 74th minute, and Alejandro Alpizar scored the game´s most stylish goal on a cross that slid just over the keeper´s hands and under the far upper V.

Earlier in the week, Costa Rica pounded Suriname 7 to 0. Froylán Ledezma commenced the barrage by scoring the first two goals, however, drew his second yellow card in as many games, disqualifying him from last night´s match.

Halfway through the six-game quadrangular phase, Costa Rica leads its qualifying group with nine points – three for each win – to El Salvador´s six. Although the wins take La Sele have the team sitting pretty (and secure) in qualifying, many say the team has yet to meet any considerable opposition and remains relatively untested under new head coach Rodrigo Kenton, who took over this summer.

For now, La Sele gets a break until they play in Suriname on Oct. 11.

The United States and Trinidad & Tobago lead Group A after two games; Mexico and Honduras Group B. The top two teams from each of the three groups will advance to next year´s hexagonal final qualifying round.

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