El Salvador, Jamaica Play to a 0-0 Tie in a Friendly at RFK Stadium

By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 31, 2009

Playing an international friendly in a stadium that has become its home away from home, El Salvador played to a scoreless tie with Jamaica last night at RFK Stadium in its final tuneup before resuming World Cup qualifying next week.

In front of a larger-than-expected crowd of 30,313 fans, the two teams drew even in a match that featured quality opportunities for each side but no goals.

Jamaica's best chance came on a header by former D.C. United forward Nicholas Addlery in the 39th minute, while El Salvador nearly stole the win on a superb cross that was headed wide of the far post by Rodolfo Zelaya in the 77th minute, then again on a free kick taken away from the upper corner by a diving goalkeeper in the 80th.

While neither team would end up on top in the game, there was no doubt which team held the home-field advantage.

The Jamaicans were greeted with boos as they walked onto the field more than an hour prior to the game.

By the start, much of the stadium was filled, and the yellow-clad Jamaica fans were only a smattering among the sea of El Salvador supporters.

"[I] feel very happy to see these people here and a lot of people from El Salvador come to support us," said former D.C. United midfielder Eliseo Quintanilla, who entered at halftime.

The first half gave little for the majority to cheer about, however.

The only promising attack from El Salvador came in the 16th minute when Julio Martínez found space on the right side and looked to chip a shot past Jamaica goalkeeper Dwayne Miller, but he put too much on the attempt and sent it over the top.

Otherwise, the Reggae Boyz went into the half feeling as though they could have been on top.

A strong volley in the 35th minute missed just wide right. And in the 39th minute Addlery, who plays for the second-division Puerto Rico Islanders, nearly gave Jamaica the lead when his flicked-on header seemed destined for the far post only to be smacked away by goalkeeper Miguel Montes.

El Salvador threatened in the 50th minute when Quintanilla broke through the Jamaican defense and appeared to be shoved while in the box, but he went over too easily and the referee signaled to play on.

The final 15 minutes were frantic as the Salvadorans pushed more vigorously than they had all game and were nearly rewarded three times.

El Salvador will now refocus on World Cup qualifying and hosts Mexico on June 6.

"We're happy to have everybody play better and we know we're going to have a hard game against Mexico," Quintanilla said. "And we're going to try to win that game, and that game is very important for us. We have to get the three points."

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