This year has been a year of the unprecedented with a global pandemic and the resulting sporting cancellations and postponements. US Soccer has been no exception: friendlies in March cancelled, Nations League games in June postponed, and no games played in September or October. With the USMNT returning to action in November many fans were finally able to see a number of the young exciting prospects that have been excelling with their respective clubs in Europe. In an attempt to keep the small uptick of optimism going, the US has scheduled an incredibly rare December friendly, this time at home against El Salvador.
While the roster for the two November friendlies were almost entirely European based players, the roster for this December friendly is almost entirely domestic based (with the exception of Sebastian Soto who plays for Telstar in the Netherlands). It is surprising however that despite the roster being made up of mostly MLS players, very few of those called in have much experience at the international level. Finally gone from the fold are Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, and Gyasi Zardes. In fact, only five of the 24 players called in have double digit caps for the US: Aaron Long, Walker Zimmerman, Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Lletget, and Paul Arriola. Most surprising is the number of players who have no caps at the international level (eleven in total). Similar to the European camp, several of these players are under the age of 20: Julian Araujo of LA Galaxy, Cole Bassett of the Colorado Rapids, and Efrain Alvarez of LA Galaxy.
El Salvador has only been able to play one game in 2020, which was a 1-0 loss to Iceland back in January. Looking at the calendar it’s easy to see why they agreed to playing this game against the US because they have World Cup Qualifiers next year to get ready for (they are in Group A with Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, and the US Virgin Islands) as well as the Gold Cup. Their roster for this game features five players who ply their trade in the US: Juan Barahona of Sacramento Republic, Darwin Ceren of the Houston Dynamo, Tomas Granitto who plays for Miami FC, Andres Flores of the Portland Timbers, and Joaquin Rivas of St. Louis FC.
1. The USMNT has not played a game in the month of December since 2001 when they lost 1-0 away to South Korea.
2. November’s win over Panama saw the US score six goals, the third time under Gregg Berhalter the US has scored that many in a game.
When and where to watch the game on TV
USA leads 17-0-5
July 19, 2017
Lincoln Financial Field
USA 2 – 0 El Salvador
Current FIFA Ranking
El Salvador: 70
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