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Americans lose World Cup qualifying opener

Feb. 6, 2013 at 8:46 PM

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Boniek Garcia seized on a defensive lapse Wednesday to score in the 79th minute and bring Honduras a 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over the United States.

The Americans faltered in the first game of the final round of qualifying in the North America-Central America region. Six nations will play a 10-game, round-robin tournament throughout 2013 with the top three finishers earning a spot for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

The fourth-place finisher will then meet the winner of the Oceania division in a two-game playoff to determine the final World Cup berth.

Clint Dempsey put the Americans in front in the 36th minute, but Juan Carlos Garcia scored on an overhead kick before halftime.

The decisive goal came when Garcia slipped behind defender Geoff Cameron and then put the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard.

Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico and Jamaica make up the remainder of the final group of would-be qualifiers. The United States will host Costa Rica March 22 and then faces the always difficult trip to Mexico four days later.

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