The USMNT picked up their first win of 2023 in Grenada on Friday night. With the win, they secured their place in this summer’s Gold Cup. However, they will need a draw or a win in their final group stage game to secure their place in the Nations League knockout round. That final game is at home against El Salvador.
US thrashes Grenada
While the US looked as good as could have been hoped on Friday, there wasn’t much learned from the game. Yes, the US scored seven goals and got all three points. Yes, the US finally managed to get a win and score some goals. And, yes, the stars like Pulisic and McKennie performed well.
Friday’s game against Grenada was only the second win in the last ten games for the USMNT. It was also the first time since their last meeting against Grenada (on June 10) that they scored multiple goals in a game.
At the end of the day, Grenada is ranked 173rd in the world. These were the types of games that made Gregg Berhalter’s record appear much more impressive than it actually was. A much tougher test awaits the US in Orlando against El Salvador.
Draw provides preview of USA and El Salvador
El Salvador may be a tougher test for the US than Grenada. Even then, the visitors are not in a great run of form right now. In fact, their form is not that dissimilar from the USMNT’s. Los Cuscatlecos are winless in their last five games. Their last win was way back in June of 2022 in the Nations League against Grenada. Like the US, they have struggled to score goals. The last time El Salvador scored multiple goals was also last June against Grenada.
The roster called in by their manager, former US international Hugo Perez, is mostly domestic based. Yet, it does feature several players who play for clubs in the US. Two of their guys play in MLS: defender Alex Zavaleta of LA Galaxy defender Alex Roldan of the Seattle Sounders. They also have three players who play in the USL. Bryan Tamacas of the Oakland Roots, Nelson Flores of North Carolina FC and Jairo Henriquez of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
The reverse fixture of the USA and El Salvador can provide a preview of what is to come Monday night. A 1-1 draw in June continued a trend of close games, with the last three fixtures yielding two draws and a 1-0 win for the USMNT in World Cup qualifying.
Monday night’s contest kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT and Universo. It is taking place at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, a familiar spot for the USMNT. This is the sixth USMNT game at Exploria Stadium in the last five-and-a-half years.
The United States has never lost to El Salvador. In 26 fixtures, the USMNT has 19 wins and seven draws. If it continues that trend tonight, a draw would be good enough to get into the CONCACAF Nations League Final.
After this, the international break closes. The USMNT will not regroup until the newly formed Continental Clasico against Mexico on April 19 in Glendale, AZ.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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