Picture Credits: United States Mens Soccer Team (@USMNT)
What a night! Yes, the United States managed to barely scrape by El Salvador, but in World Cup Qualifying, three points is three points. The atmosphere was outstanding despite the frigid temperatures of the midwest. The United States kept themselves in second place in the octagonal, as their win, coupled with Canada and Mexico's wins kept the table the same in terms of standings. Let's get into the game itself.
The USMNT, as has been the case for a majority of this octagonal, started the match poorly. That could have been different is Jesus Ferriera put away his two chances, with the second chance from point blank range. The United States did not create very many opportunities throughout the game, let alone in the first half. The second half would prove to provide just enough spark to win the match. El Salvador must be credited with slowing down the United States. They really limited what the United States did throughout the match, but in the end, it was just a right place at the right time for Antonee Robinson to power home a shot in the 52 minute that would prove to be the difference.
Picture credits: United States Mens National Team (@USMNT)
Credit To El Salvador
There was a lot of plaudits post-match from the United States, including USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter saying " [El Salvador] is a young team, and [he] has a lot of respect for what [Hugo Perez] has done for that group". He also goes on to say that Hugo is doing a fantastic job with El Salvador, also stating that the United States are "pulling for them. We hope they win all five of their games." El Salvador head coach, Hugo Perez, represented the United States national team throughout his career, despite being born in El Salvador.
United States Remain Confident
While the United States scrapped by El Salvador, they remain confident heading to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada for Sundays crucial matchup. "It wasn't the prettiest game, there were times when we played good football, and times when we had to dig it out", Robinson said. He continued by saying "These are the games we have to keep winning if we want to qualify". The United States expects Sundays match to be a slugfest, a true CONCACAF match, and out will be "a grind" to be able to pull out a result. But, Berhalter is relishing the challenge of going up to Canada.
Columbus Continues To Be A Fortress For The USMNT
Another game in Columbus results in another win for the USMNT. The USMNT record in matches played in Columbus, Ohio is now 9-1-2. Columbus, also known as the "unofficial" home of the USMNT, continues to show why they are at the forefront of hosting the USMNT. "Another competitive World Cup Qualifier. Fantastic crowd [and atmosphere] in Columbus", Berhalter said, following the match.
Picture Credits: United States Mens National Team (@USMNT)
Columbus heads north of the border for a crucial World Cup Qualifier against Canada on Sunday, January 30. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. Canada, who is currently at the top of the standings for the octagonal, will look to keep their unblemished record in tact as they welcome the Americans to town. The USMNT will be down playmaker Tim Weah, as he is not able to enter the country due to his vaccination status.