2022 World Cup qualifiers: USA 0-0 El Salvador – disjointed performance and undecided result


The United States entered the first World Cup qualifying game since … you know, we all remember that. It was wet and rainy and Bruce Arena was there and it wasn’t fun. Geoff Cameron was watching and looking all mad / sad about it. Not the right time. My main memory for this game was thinking that I should write the article What We Learned and How Useless It Was. Fortunately, the USMNT has gotten good at football over the past four years and I hope we don’t relive this fiasco.

Still, the team would need to hit the road in front of a hostile crowd and do what they could to defeat Alex Roldan. One thing was certain, anything less than 8 points in qualifying for this round would not be acceptable.

If there was a question as to how the USMNT would approach the game, it was answered right out of training and Konrad de la Fuente started alongside Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie in central midfielder. It’s a decision that says, I’m not too concerned with responding to what El Salvador wants to do and I’m looking to dictate the game to Gregg Berhalter. Also, respect the name of Tim Ream.

Meanwhile, Hugo Perez sent a promising Salvadoran side into a 4-4-2 with Greg Vanney’s nephew and a team whose most prominent players are in MLS or play in Holland. That said, Los cuzcatlecos were coming out of a respectable Gold Cup performance and the energy of the hometown would surely give a boost against the Stars and Stripes.

A match which included… curiously not so much Concacafing, but no goals

In what started as a delicate game for the United States, the team struggled to create chances. That said, the team did move the ball into the attacking third, even though the odds were lacking. In the first 30 minutes, the best moments of the match were created by the cameraman as it seemed like the production decisions were, basically? super wide? WHO SAYS JUST CUT ON CAMERA 2.

The game came to life around the half hour mark as El Salvador started to get bolder in their pressing and the United States responded by pushing forward and finding seams in El Salvador’s backline. Matt Turner’s goalie error gave the team in blue a corner kick that created a shot that almost floated into the United States’ goal. The Americans tried to do a lot of punches and fancy things, but nothing really seemed to threaten El Salvador’s goal and the teams came in at half time 0-0.

Given the struggles of the first half, the second started with the Stars and Stripes doing essentially what they did in the top 45, but harder and a bit faster. The result was more wrestling, but this time harder and faster.

A trio of subs entered for the United States as Antonee Robinson, Jordan Pefok and Kellyn Acosta entered for Sergino Dest, Josh Sargent and Konrad.

One change that seemed effective was Gio Reyna and Brenden Aaronson swapping more with Reyna playing further to the left where the United States had most of their success. It almost paid off in the 72nd minute when GR7 threw a cross that Weston McKennie headed but failed to get the shot into the net. Still, Reyna was the best player on the pitch and as the game progressed he continued to be the main outlet for the squad as all of the squad’s moves just weren’t happening.

Two more substitutes entered as Cristian Roldan and Sebastian Lletget entered for Aaronson and Yedlin when the clock reached 79th minute. Although the new additions provided a spark, the game still lacked a decisive moment and ended in a 0-0 draw.

Not the best result, not the worst, neutral.


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