The Washington Post

U.S. soccer team allows late goal, eliminated from Olympic qualifying tournament

View Photo Gallery: Jaime Alas scores in added time to tie the game, 3-3, and knock the Americans from the group stage of Olympic qualifying.

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.


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.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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