Giovani dos Santos will be in the World Cup Finals next summer - but Wilson Palacios faces a must-win game on Wednesday to join him.
Mexico handed Gio the perfect tonic as he recovers from an ankle injury with a 4-1 win against El Salvador at the Azteca Stadium to secure one of the top three qualifying places from the CONCACAF region.
Wilson played the full 90 minutes as Honduras took on CONCACAF leaders USA in the Estadio Olimpico in San Pedro Sula.
Victory for Honduras would have opened up the whole group and it looked good for Wilson's team - unbeaten at home until Saturday - when they took a 1-0 lead through Julio de Leon.
USA hit back with goals from Conor Casey (2) and Landon Donovan to lead 3-1, Honduras made it 3-2 through Leon and then missed a penalty.
USA held on and the win secured their place in South Africa.
Wilson will now need a favour from the US as Honduras fight it out with Costa Rica for final qualifying place.
Honduras face a tough game themselves away to El Salvador while Costa Rica - now two point clear of Honduras - travel to the US.
One will book their place in next summer's finals - the other will face the fifth-placed team from South American qualifying in a play-off.