LOS ANGELES: Teenager Ricardo Pepi scored twice as the United States defeated Jamaica 2-0 on Thursday to move atop the CONCACAF 2022 World Cup qualifying standings as Mexico were held to a 1-1 draw by Canada. Pepi, the 18-year-old from Texas who had scored on his debut during a 4-1 victory over Honduras last month, struck twice in the second half to secure all three points for Gregg Berhalter’s United States in Austin. The victory gave the United States eight points from four matches, and Mexico found themselves on the same total after Canada rallied for a draw at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. Mexico welcomed the return of Raul Jimenez, Hirving Lozano and Hector Herrera after they missed September’s qualifiers —– Jimenez and Lozano held out after travel bans were imposed in England and Italy because of Covid-19. On an early counter attack Lozano found Sanchez with a cross in the area and the Club America calmly fired home against on-rushing Canadian keeper Maxime Crepeau to give Mexico a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. Canada wasted no time in responding, with Alphonso Davies missing from close range 10 minutes later. Davies atoned when he found Osorio wide open in the penalty area in the 42nd minute, Osorio turning and slotting a low shot past Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa to knot the score. Mexico were unable to regain the lead in the second half, their determined efforts hindered by their own fans whose anti-gay chant caused a brief stoppage in play that broke the hosts’ rhythm. Canada gained their first World Cup qualifying draw at the Azteca — where Mexico had not dropped points since a 1-1 draw with the United States on June 11, 2017. After struggling in unconvincing draws against El Salvador and Canada last month, Berhalter’s young side broke down a rugged Jamaica team who remain bottom of the eight-team final CONCACAF qualifying group. First-half flashpoints: The Reggae Boyz were fortunate to finish the game with 11 men on the field after two first-half flashpoints that might have resulted in red cards. The game was less than a minute old when Pepi released Paul Arriola with a through ball only for the D.C. United forward to be tripped by the covering Kemar Lawrence. Grenadan referee Reon Radix however only gave a yellow card for the foul however as Jamaica escaped. Radix produced another yellow card on 34 minutes after adjudging that Devon Williams had cleaned out Brenden Aaronson as the talented 20-year-old Red Bull Salzburg forward went through on goal. Yunus Musah, the New York-born 18-year-old Valencia central midfielder who opted to play for the US after being eligible to represent Italy, England and Ghana, drove forward deep into Jamaican territory and passed to Barcelona fullback Sergino Dest. Dest calmly picked out Pepi with a chipped cross and the FC Dallas striker steered his header past Andre Blake to make it 1-0. The second goal arrived on 62 minutes, and once again Pepi was in the right place at the right time. Antonee Robinson released Aaronson down the left, and the forward passed into the feet of Pepi in the area for the simplest of finishes to make it 2-0.