The Americans dominated El Salvador for most of the game in Tampa last night, outshooting Los Cuscatlecos 18-3, but a combination of poor finishing, great goalkeeping by El Salvador’s Miguel Montes, and an error by U.S. right back Brad Evans had them trailing 1-0 with just 15 minutes to play.
In the 59th minute, Evans, who plays in central midfield for his club, Seattle Sounders FC, headed a Salvadoran long ball back into the U.S. box, leaving Rudis Corrales with an easy chance against U.S. keeper Nick Rimando, and the Salvadoran took it. Apart from this gaffe, though, Evans had a decent outing.
Brian Ching and Eddie Gaven had injected new life into the U.S. attack since coming on after the break, and it was Ching who equalized in the 75th minute, powering in a header after an excellent cross from left back Heath Pearce, who had a strong game.
The match entered stoppage time and appeared headed for a 1-1 draw when Montes sent a pass to defender Marvin Gonzalez about 35 yards out from the Salvadoran goal. Gonzalez seemed unaware of any U.S. pressure around him, and Yank midfielder Sacha Kljestan closed in and dispossessed him easily, then played the ball to Ching, took Ching’s return pass into the box and buried the ball in the far corner from seven yards.
Players ratings to follow.
Feb. 24, 2010; Raymond James Stadium, Tampa.
U.S. 2, El Salvador 1.
Goals: Corrales 59; Ching 75, Kljestan 90.
United States: Rimando, Evans, Bornstein, Goodson, Pearce, Rogers (Cameron, 87), Kljestan, Beckerman (McCarty, 79), Davis (Gaven, 46), Findley (Cunningham, 68), Casey (Ching, 46).
El Salvador: Montes, Escobar, Gonzalez, Flores, Sanchez, Romero (Alas, 71), A.Alvarez, Corrales, Salazar, Umanzor, Moscoso.