United States vs. El Salvador
CONCACAF Olympic qualifying (under-23 teams)
Where: LP Field in Nashville.
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET.
TV: Universal Sports Network, mun2.
Online: universalsports.com, concacaf.com
USA (three points) must defeat El Salvador (four) in order to secure passage to Saturday’s semifinals in Kansas City, Kan. Canada (five points) allowed a 90th-minute equalizer and settled for a 1-1 draw with Cuba (one point), a result that clinched a semifinal berth but opened the door for the Americans to win the group with a victory.
I will provide periodic updates throughout the USA match. Your pregame, in-game and postgame thoughts are welcome in our comments section.
USA LINEUP: Hamid; Sarkodie, Opara, Kitchen, Villafana; Diskerud, Okugo, Corona; Adu, Boyd, Shea. Subs: Johnson, Williams, Valentin, Stephens, Jeffrey, Gyau, Bunbury, Taylor.
1st MINUTE: Shea beats three defenders to end line, crosses to Boyd for left-footed volley from six yards. It took all of 59 seconds. 1-0 USA.
4th: El Salvador pleads for a penalty, but no contact as attacker, defender and keeper converged.
11th: Boyd with a clear run on goal but heavy touch allows keeper to intervene.
20th: Still 1-0, USA. It’s getting rough out there: hard tackles, blows to the face, yellow cards.
25th: El Salvador attacking with quickness and confidence but USA absorbing counters and not yielding space around the box.
29th: Adu sends long ball to chest of Boyd, who isn’t able to control behind Salvadoran backline.
31st: Hamid hurts left ankle coming off his line. Medical attention but remains in match.
34th: Gutierrez with best chance of evening for El Salvador, surging into the right flank and narrowly missing near corner.
35th: El Salvador equalizer off a corner kick: Blanco near-post header over Hamid. USA falters on another set piece in tournament. 1-1.
37th: Flores latches onto Alas’s low cross deep in the box, beats Hamid to ball and fires home. 2-1, El Salvador.
39th: Hamid’s ankle continues to cause problems. He exits the match. Sean Johnson enters. Down a goal and now down it’s starting keeper.
40th: Adu drives a dangerous low ball through the six-yard box.
41st: Adu dances in the box, chips 16-yarder beyond the top left corner.
HALFTIME: El Salvador, 2-1. Calamitous turn of events for the Americans, who started so well but were outpaced and faltered on another set piece. Draw won’t cut it for USA; only a victory will get it through to the semifinals.
46th: No halftime changes for USA. Options limited after burning a substitution on goalkeeper. Expecting Bunbury and Gyau at some point.
48th: Nasty head-to-head collision between Sarkodie and Larin. Both remain in match.
55th: USA not exactly seizing control of the match. Salvador absorbing mild pressure and seeking to counter.
57th: Tremendous save by Cuellar on Adu’s 25-yard blast, fully extended to his left to touch the ball wide. Wow.
65th: Adu through ball to Boyd for one-timer past Cuellar. Here we go. 2-2.
68th: Adu lifts high ball across the box to Corona for six-yard header into near left corner. 3-2, USA.
73rd: Johnson makes quality save on Gutierrez’s drive.
80th: USA lead remains intact. Pace to their liking. Keeping possession. El Salvador chasing.
82nd: Away from the ball, Boyd popped in the nose/mouth, bleeding. No cards.
87th: El Salvador has little left in the tank. Resorting to deliberate fouls.
88th: Stephens for Corona.
Added time: Four minutes-plus.
3rd minute of added time: Gyau for Adu.
5th minute of added time: Johnson fails to secure Jaime Alas’s low, 30-yard bid. Unbelievable. El Salvador has drawn even in closing moments.
Full time: USA 3, El Salvador 3. Americans are out in the group stage. Salvadoran players with tears of joy — one of the great moments in the country’s soccer history. ES wins the group, Canada finishes second, USA is third.