Gold Cup field nearly set after El Salvador tops Nicaragua

Ivan Mancia El Salvador Juan Barrera Nicaragua
Rodrigo Arangua
Honduras won the Copa Centroamericana with a victory Sunday, while neighbor El Salvador secured a spot in CONCACAF's regional championship.

All but one of the places are filled for this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup after El Salvador topped Nicaragua on the final day of the Copa Centroamericana.

St. Louis FC forward Irvin Herrera scored in the 54th minute, getting the ball back in the box after playing it wide and using his left foot to finish past onrushing Nicaragua goalkeeper Diedrich Tellez. Nicaragua defender Luis Copete missed the target on a chance to equalizer in stoppage time, and La Selecta escaped with the victory.

The result sees El Salvador qualify automatically for the Gold Cup, while Nicaragua now must face Haiti in a two-legged playoff in order to qualify for the competition.

Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica clinched their spots in the 2017 continential championship earlier in the Copa Centroamericana - a tournament that traditionally sees a group stage and a knockout round but switched to a round-robin with Guatemala's continued suspension from FIFA keeping Los Chapines out of the competition. Panama, the host, and Costa Rica will play to close out the tournament Sunday night.

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Honduras went undefeated during the tournament and finished with 13 points, enough to win its fourth Copa Centroamericana title. 

Like the Caribbean qualification process, matches took place outside a FIFA window, so many teams weren't able to field their strongest sides. In the Caribbean, the winners of the Caribbean Cup qualification groups qualified with Martinique, French Guiana, Jamaica and Curacao the four qualified teams. Haiti won a three-team tournament to clinch its spot in the playoff agianst Nicaragua.

The United States, Mexico and Canada qualify automatically from North America.