On Wednesday, the USA eked out a 2-1 win over a regional rival that failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup. The friendly against El Salvador was a last chance for several MLS players to convince Coach Bob Bradley they deserved one of the few World Cup roster spots that won't be taken by foreign-based players. Brian Ching, with a goal and an assist, came out best, while midfielder Sacha Kljestan helped his chances by scoring a 92nd minute winner.
On Ching, the only player on the field who was on the 2006 World Cup squad, Bradley said, "Brian has qualities on the field in terms of putting himself in good positions, holding balls, bringing guys into the game. He’s a player that works hard for the team. He puts himself in good positions. I think often he makes players around him better because of the type of honest, dirty work that he does. I thought that was clearly the case in the second half. Had some chances, the goalkeeper made some great saves, but he got himself a goal, and I thought he had a good presence."
Ching came on at halftime, replacing Conor Casey. Said Ching, “Sometimes when you sit and watch the first half you kind of get to watch the defense and see how they are reacting. What I wanted to do in the second half was put myself in good positions and I think I did that. I tried to get everybody involved and hold the ball and lay it off and I think that went well today.”
Kljestan came back strong after a disappointing outing in January's 3-1 loss to Honduras. "It felt good." he said. "It felt like I was doing a lot of the little things right tonight as compared to maybe the game in Honduras where maybe I wasn’t closing down fast enough or making plays in my area or being hard enough to play against. Tonight I think I did those better and that got me in the game more and got me some looks in front of the goal. Obviously, I had two good chances in the first half but I was glad I could make up for it in the end.”