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Young US football squad hosts El Salvador in Florida friendly

Miami (AFP) – The United States national team will play its first home match since the Covid-19 global football shutdown on Wednesday against El Salvador at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

A youthful American roster of mostly Major League soccer talent features 10 players that could claim their first cap, with coach Gregg Berhalter having already used 29 first-cap players in his first 21 matches, a US team record for any coach.

Fifteen of the 22 players, whose average age is just over 23, will be eligible for the US side playing North American rivals in March for a berth in the Tokyo Olympics.

Only 2,500 spectators will be allowed into the MLS Inter Miami stadium under Covid-19 safety rules.

DC United’s Paul Arriola, who played all 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory last February at Los Angeles over Costa Rica, suffered a torn right knee ligament a few weeks later in an MLS pre-season match but has worked his way back onto the US roster and has the most experience of any US player with 33 caps.

The Americans own a 17-1 with five drawn edge in the all-time rivalry with El Salvador, the most recent encounter being a 2-0 US victory at Philadelphia in a 2017 Gold Cup quarter-final.

It’s also the first match for the Salvadoran squad since the pandemic shutdown. The Central American side last took the field in a 1-0 loss to Iceland in Los Angeles last January.

El Salvador’s only victory over the United States came on home soil by 2-0 in a 1992 friendly.

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