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Match report: USMNT 2-0 El Salvador

It wasn’t pretty, but the USMNT defeated El Salvador on a steamy summer night in Philly 2-0 behind first half goals from Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj.

Bruce Arena continued to tweak his lineup, giving starts to newly called in players Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, and Tim Howard.

El Salvador almost drew first blood in just the third minute. Lichaj left his pass back to Howard short, and Dennis Pineda raced in on goal, but Howard was off his line quickly with a strong hand to save his defender’s blushes.

Gyasi Zardes thought he had given the USA the lead in the 17th minute. The winger latched onto a ball behind the El Salvador backline and finished coolly from 6 yards, but he was judged to be just offside. Replays show that Zardes was just onside when he received the ball.

The USA would break through in the 42nd minute. Michael Bradley served up a delightful ball from a free kick 40 yards out on the left side. Omar Gonzalez did ever so well to just get a touch onto the cross and flick in from 8 yards out with a defender climbing on his back.

The Americans would double their lead just before the halftime whistle. Eric Lichaj tallied his first USA goal in a flowing move that started with the right back intercepting a pass and starting ahead on the counter. The ball was worked through midfield and eventually to Clint Dempsey on the left side. Dempsey played a perfectly weighted ball into the box for Lichaj, who had continued his run 50 yards upfield, to run onto, take a touch, and finish between the goalkeepers legs.

El Salvador ratcheted up the CONCACAFness of the match in the second half. On a 60th minute corner kick, defender Henry Romero first pinched the nipple of Jozy Altidore as they waited for the ball to be delivered and then bit the USA forward as the ball was served. Both actions went unpunished.

El Salvador did push the US backline throughout the second stanza, but lacked the clinical final touch to get on the scoreboard.

Philadelphia Union man Chris Pontius was given a late cameo, replacing Darlington Nagbe in the 87th minute.

The USMNT advance to face Costa Rica on Saturday (9 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel) in Arlington, Texas.

Lineups:

United States
Tim Howard, Eric Lichaj, Matt Hedges, Omar Gonzalez, Justin Morrow, Michael Bradley, Paul Arriola (Jordan Morris 66′), Darlington Nagbe (Chris Pontius 87′), Clint Dempsey, Gyasi Zardes (Kellyn Acosta 71′), Jozy Altidore
Unused Subs: Bill Hamid, Jess Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Matt Miazga, Dax McCarty, Joe Corona, Juan Agudelo, Graham Zusi

El Salvador
Derby Carrillo, Bryan Tamacas, Henry Romero, Ivan Mancia, Alexander Larin, Gerson Mayen (Oscar Ceren 57′), Darwin Ceren, Narciso Orellana, Dennis Pineda (Edwin Sanchez 78′), Nelson Bonilla (Harold Alas 84′), Rodolfo Zelaya
Unused subs: Victor Garcia, Roberto Dominguez, Richard Menjivar, Junior Burgos, Andres Flores, Ruben Marroquin, Milton Molino

Scoring Summary

USA – Omar Gonzalez – 41′ (Michael Bradley)
USA – Eric Lichaj – 45+2′ (Clint Dempey)

Disciplinary Summary

SAL – Ivan Mancia – 18′ (Dissent)
USA – Darlington Nagbe – 21′ (Unsporting behavior)
SAL – Alexander Larin – 59′ (Unsporting behavior)
SAL – Henry Romero – 82′ (Unsporting behavior)
SAL – Bryan Tamacas – 83′ (Unsporting behavior)

4 Comments

  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Phew thank heavens Gyasi Zardes was on the field tonight and replaced an actual footballer Kelyn Rowe…And that Jozy Altidore — boy he played great. I know I know the miserable elephant… Bruce is still undefeated though so guess criticism is unwarranted…. here’s to me…
    .
    ….enjoying a Victory IPA in Cynicism Corner again this week.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Was anyone reading this at the game? What was attendance like with the Union theoretically playing last night? Were there a lot of El Salvador fans up from DC?

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