Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Klinsmann: La Selecta poses 'huge hurdle'
by Paul Kennedy, July 21st, 2013 5:25AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  gold cup, men's national team

MOST COMMENTED

[USA-EL SALVADOR] El Salvador eliminated the USA prematurely the last time it hosted a regional championship, and La Selecta will attempt to do the same when it plays the U.S. national team Sunday in the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup.

A crowd of more than 71,000 fans -- many of them Salvadoran supporters -- is expected at Baltimore's M&T Bank for doubleheader that concludes when Honduras faces Costa Rica.

The USA will attempt to keep its streak alive of having reached the semifinals of the Gold Cup at every tournament since 2000, while El Salvador will be looking to go to the final four for the first time.

El Salvador's under-23 national team tied the USA, 3-3, in March 2012 to eliminate the host Americans from Olympic qualifying in the group stage. Jaime Alas, who recently signed with the San Jose Earthquakes, scored on the last shot of the game four minutes into stoppage time when it slipped through the arms ofSean Johnson to tie the score and drop the USA to third place in their group behind Canada -- yes, Canada -- and El Salvador.

American-born midfielder Richard Menjivar, who grew up playing in the Southern California youth system, attended Evansville and Cal State Bakersfield and now plays for the NASL spring champion Atlanta Silverbacks, is one of four former Salvadoran U-23s who will start on Sunday.

El Salvador's current star, though, is 24-year-old Rodolfo Zelaya, who has bounced around between Alianza in El Salvador, Leon in Mexico and Russian club Alania Vladikavkaz over the last five years.

Zelaya, who goes by the nickname "Fito," was voted to the Best XI at the 2011 Gold Cup when El Salvador lost to Panama on penalty kicks, and he was one of the outstanding players of this year's first round with two goals against Trinidad & Tobago (2-2 tie) and the goal that knocked out Haiti (1-0 win).

El Salvador didn't qualify for this year's Hexagonal. La Selecta had started off well but a 1-0 at home to Costa Rica in its final home game dropped it to third place behind behind Mexico and Costa Rica in its semifinal qualifying group.

Following El Salvador's exit, Peruvian Agustin Castillo took over as national team coach and has continued the youth movement. The average age of the 10 field players he's expected to start on Sunday is less than 24.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann raised some eyebrows when he said after the 4-2 loss to Belgium in Cleveland in late May that he'd "rather play Belgium 10 more times than El Salvador for the 100th time because that’s where you learn.”

Some took it as a slight on Concacaf opponents in general and El Salvador in particular, but Klinsmann said on Saturday that everybody understood the context in which he made the comments and he had a lot of respect for El Salvador.

"It’s a team full of talent," he said. "We know that. I think that you’ve got to give them a really credit about how they worked their way through to the quarterfinals. Obviously, they caused big damage to our Olympic team last year. We know that this is going to be a huge hurdle and we are ready for it and we need to focused and alert from the first second on.”

While El Salvador is much improved -- it is the only non-Hexagonal team still alive at the Gold Cup -- it would be a huge upset if it beat the USA on Sunday.

The USA has beaten El Salvador by shutout all four times they've met at the Gold Cup (1996, 2002, 2003, 2007).

TRIVIA. The USA's only loss in 21 games against El Salvador (15-1-5 record) came in 1992 when Bora Milutinovic, then in his first full season as national team coach and willing to take a look at pretty much anyone, took an experimental team to Central America.

The team featuring the likes of collegians Andy Strouse, Matt Kmosko and Carlos Jaguande and former Duke star Brian Benedict (who came back from three knee operations in 18 months to get a shot on the national team) lost to El Salvador, 2-0, in a friendly played in San Salvador.

(The tour did produce one player: Milutinovic gave his first start to Mike Sorber, who went on to start at the 1994 World Cup.)

Projected El Salvador lineup:
Goalkeepers:1-Dagoberto Portillo (Luis Angel Firpo).
Defenders:2-Xavi Garcia (Luis Angel Firpo), 3-Victor Turcios (ROPS, FIN), 23-Mardoqueo Henriquez (Aguila), 16-Marcelo Posadas (Santa Tecla).
Midfielders: 12-Andres Flores (Isidro Metapan), 7-Darwin Ceren (Juventud Independiente), 6-Richard Menjivar (Atlanta Silverbacks), 8-Osael Romero (Alianza).
Forwards:17-Lester Blanco (Marathon, HON), 11-Rodolfo Zelaya (Alianza).


1 comment
  1. Scott O'connor
    commented on: July 21, 2013 at 10:06 a.m.
    We have to respect El Salvador since they can embarrass us today with a good performance. However, what has happened since we got thumped by Belgium 4-2? We promptly beat a decent German "B" side (that thumped Ecuador 4-1) and have won a record 8 straight games. I doubt a 2-0 win against El Salvador would have led to the same conclusion. No disrespect but he was just referring to El Sal as a generic CONCACAF opponent. We know their style. We learn nothing tactically from a match with them. European sides are more tactically sophisticated and matching up against them provides more education to our tactically naive players.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
USA-Costa Rica: Olympic tuneups end with easy win    
The USA closed out its preparations for the Olympic women's soccer tournament on Friday when it ...
Video Pick: Golazo by Dortmund's Dembele vs. Manchester United    
Why did Borussia Dortmund spend a reported $15 million to get 19-year-old Ousmane Dembele from French ...
Arsenal names roster for U.S. trip    
Arsenal's preliminary list of players who will travel to the United States includes American midfielder Gedion ...
What They're Saying: Axel Sjoberg    
"I don't think I have to sell myself to Dominic Kinnear. He picked the team and ...
USA-Costa Rica: Scorcher expected for final Rio tuneup    
The USA plays its last game before it heads off to the Rio Olympics when it ...
MLS Countdown: Marsch comments roil waters for derby    
Three times a year comes the question: will New York be red or blue? The Hudson ...
Crowd Count: FC Cincinnati sets another USL record    
FC Cincinnati set a USL single-season attendance record when it drew 16,127 fans Wednesday at Nippert ...
MLS Countdown: Quakes duo has red cards rescinded    
The San Jose Earthquakes will have their Panamaniacs available for a game at Real Salt Lake ...
MLS Moves: Orlando bolsters backline with Aja signing    
The first player signed by Orlando City after the hiring of head coach Jason Kreis has ...
U.S. Abroad: Ankle injury sidelines Hyndman    
Emerson Hyndman, who joined Premier League club Bournemouth from Fulham as a free agent in the ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives