Draw moves U.S. into third place in Hexagonal

The U.S. and El Salvador drew 1-1 in their World Cup qualifying match June 29 in San Salvador. After a lackluster first half, the U.S. cranked up the intensity, putting a good deal of pressure on the hosts. In the 51st minute, a cross from John Harkes on the right side split the El Salvador defense and Roy Lassiter volleyed the ball home from six yards out with his left foot to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. After tremendous U.S. pressure, when El Salvador seemed ready to collapse, a driving ball was sent into the U.S. box from the left side. Marcelo Balboa and Alexi Lalas were unable to get to the ball, and it proceeded to the right side of the box, where MLS-based Salvadoran striker Raul Diaz Arce stabbed at the ball, knocking it past Brad Friedel. The U.S. keeper managed to get a hand on the ball but could only deflect it into his net. After the equalizer, the U.S. created numerous chances, Lassiter hit a volley just over the top of the bar; a ball into the box was headed out to Ernie Stewart, whose volley was stopped by the keeper Raul Garcia. The ball then rebounded to Cobi Jones, whose hard shot just missed the far post. Michael Mason replaced Stewart with about twenty minutes remaining and again proved dangerous on the flank. In the final minutes, Lassiter broke free down the left side, but his shot from a difficult angle hit the crossbar. With the point from the tie, the U.S. moves into sole possession of third place at the midway point of play in the Hexagonal. The Americans' next match is in September when they host Costa Rica in Portland, Ore. Midfielder John Harkes will miss the match due to accumulated yellow cards after being booked in the 24th minute against El Salvador. June 29 in San Salvador El Salvador 1 USA 1. Goals: Diaz Arce 60; Lassiter 51. El Salvador -- Garcia, Vicevic, Amaya (Martinez, 76), Lazo, Renderos (Guerra, 55), Cienfuegos, Cerritos (Hernandez, 85), Rodriguez, Sanabria, Diaz Arce, Montes. USA -- Friedel, Pope, Lalas, Balboa, Agoos, Jones, Harkes, Sorber Stewart (Mason, 75), Kirovski (Reyna, 70), Wagner (Lassiter, 46). Yellow cards: El Salvador -- Cerritos 10, Sanabria 18, Hernandez 86; USA -- Harkes 24, Stewart 26. Referee: Betancourt (Bolivia). Att.: 32,000 (sellout).
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