The U.S. men's soccer team faces a crucial qualifying match against El
Salvador Saturday night, as the Americans hold on to one of three
guaranteed spots in next year's World Cup in South Africa. The Americans need a win to solidify their place in
the final round of qualifying.
The United States is in third
place in the North Central America and Caribbean group, tied with
Honduras on 10 points but behind on goal differential. Mexico is
fourth, just one point back while Costa Rica leads the six-team final
round with 12 points.
The last time the U.S. men played El
Salvador, they had to come back to tie the match 2-2 in El Salvador.
Saturday's game is at Utah's Rio Tinto Stadium and the U.S. is
expecting a partisan home crowd. U.S. Coach Bob Bradley said after
Friday's practice that El Salvador is a tough opponent, both at home
and on the road.
"It's a group of players that's been together,
he said. "I think they are well coached and organized. We saw that even
in a home game, you know that they had a real game plan of how they
wanted to play us. And I think that's one of their strengths in every
game and we would expect all of that."
U.S. forward Clint
Dempsey says that he and his teammates can take nothing for granted -
they want a win Saturday to solidify their chances of qualifying.
always different playing home and away," he said. "It's two totally
different games. So we are just trying to make the most of the games we
have left. You know it's kind of our fate's in our own hands. We are
trying to qualify for the World Cup, you know that's the main goal, so
we are still in a good position and we know we need to get a result."
other matches Saturday, Trinidad and Tobago visits Honduras and Costa
Rica hosts Mexico. The top three finishers after the final round earn a
berth to the World Cup and the fourth place finisher faces a playoff
against South America's fifth place team.