It’s been 1,423 days since the last World Cup Qualifying game, and a first for twelve players as the US earns a hard fought draw on the road in CONCACAF.
There are a lot of numbers that can sum up the hopeful, or sobering away performance which earned a point by the United States Men’s National Team during the first game of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. The last World Cup Qualifying game was one to remember, or forget as the US failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in dramatic fashion. For many, the experience in front of a sellout 29,000 hostile away crowd was a first in the US jersey.
The game proved to be a very choppy and mixed affair, with neither team truly establishing dominance. Head Coach Gregg Berlhalter was pleased with the group’s effort and performance for the large part in his post match interview. The coaching staff, along with the fans thought that after dealing with the initial shock of the atmosphere in the stadium “we need to be able to calm down” as Berlhalter stated.
Josh Sargent was tasked with leading the front line, and while he looked lively, he often passed up his opportunities to shoot by choosing to lay it off to another player. After the game, former National Team players and CBS Commentators Charlie Davies and Oguchi Onyewu (check out Guch’s Yanks-Abroad Bext XI segment) split opinions on the forwards performance. Davies hinted that Jordan Pefok was lurking right over the shoulder of Sargent and if he didn’t produce, he would be replaced.
The best chance of the game fell to Miles Robinson from a Gio Reyna free kick early in the first half, but the MLS defender headed his golden chance wide. El Salvador created a chance from their center back Ronald Rodriguez headed over the post.
The game was boiled down to effort, pressure, and turn overs. Many could claim that the US won the battle, but shared the spoils as a point between the two teams was the final outcome. Generally speaking, the USMNT plan to qualify for the World Cup (historically) has been to win their home games, and draw more than they lose on the road.
One step towards a trip to Qatar next Winter? Only time will tell.
Stats from US Soccer:
USA: 1-Matt Turner; 22-Deandre Yedlin (17-Sebastian Lletget, 79), 12-Miles Robinson, 13-Tim Ream, 2-Sergiño Dest (5-Antonee Robinson, 64); 4-Tyler Adams (Capt.), 8-Weston McKennie, 11-Brenden Aaronson (10-Cristian Roldan, 78); 7-Gio Reyna, 9-Josh Sargent (19-Jordan Pefok, 64), 20-Konrad de la Fuente (23-Kellyn Acosta, 65)
Substitutes not used: 16-Ethan Horvath, 3-Walker Zimmerman, 6-John Brooks, 14-Ricardo Pepi, 15-Mark McKenzie, 18-James Sands, 21-George Bello
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
SLV: 1-Mario Gonzalez; 21-Bryan Tamacas, 4-Eriq Zavaleta, 5-Ronald Rodriguez, 13-Alexander Larin (19-Denis Pineda, 74); 7-Darwin Ceren (23-Melvin Cartagena, 59), 6-Narciso Orellana, 15-Alex Roldan; 12-Marvin Monterroza (Capt.) (20-Enrico Dueñas, 59); 11-Joaquin Rivas (9-Walmer Martinez, 81), 17-Jairo Henriquez (8-Joshua Perez, 74)
Substitutes not used: 18-Yonathan Guardado, 22-Kevin Carabantes, 2-Lizandro Claros, 3-Roberto Dominguez, 10-Amando Moreno, 14-Erick Rivera, 16-Juan Barahona
Head coach: Hugo Perez
Stats Summary: USA / SLV
Shots: 13 / 7
Shots on Goal: 2 / 1
Saves: 1 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 5
Fouls: 19 / 11
Offside: 0 / 0
SLV — Marvin Monterroza (Caution) 40th minute
USA — Weston McKennie (Caution) 67
USA — Deandre Yedlin (Caution) 68
Referee: Juan Gabriel Calderon (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: William Adrian Arrieta (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Carlos Esteban Fernandez (CRC)
4th Official: Benjamin Pineda (CRC)
Budweiser Man of the Match: Tyler Adams