U.S. at El Salvador World Cup Qualifier Preview

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where: Cuscatlán Stadium, San Salvador.

When: 9 p.m.

TV: ESPN2, Telefutura.

U.S. PROBABLE STARTERS (clubs in parentheses): GK Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England); Ds Frankie Hejduk (Columbus, MLS), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock, Germany); MFs Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Michael Bradley (Moenchengladbach, Germany), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA, MLS), DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland); Fs Landon Donovan (Los Angeles, MLS), Brian Ching (Houston, MLS).

OUTLOOK: The Americans, who will play Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday in Nashville, are 13-1-4 all-time against the Salvadorans with a 41-10 scoring advantage and have shut out El Salvador in six consecutive matches. They are 4-0-2 in the qualifying series history, including 1-0-1 at Cuscatlan. However, an intense environment against an opponent desperate for victory after tying at home in its opener promises to make things difficult for the U.S. team. Tim Howard, the usual starting goalie, is serving a one-game, yellow card suspension while veteran MF Pablo Mastroeni returns from a similar penalty and might replace Kljestan in the lineup. El Salvador's roster includes former D.C. United forward Eliseo Quintanilla.

GROUP STANDINGS

United States 1-0, Costa Rica 1-0, El Salvador 0-0-1, Trinidad and Tobago 0-0-1, Honduras 0-1, Mexico 0-1. (Top three advance to 2010 World Cup in South Africa; fourth-place team enters a playoff against a South American opponent.)

OTHER MATCHES: Costa Rica at Mexico, 7 (Telemundo); Honduras at Trinidad and Tobago, 7.

-- Steven Goff


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