Scouting Report: El Salvador 'complicated' but underdog

The USA moves into the quarterfinals of the Gold Cup against El Salvador Wednesday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. While Bruce Arena and his players have been talking respectfully against El Salvador, it is a team that will be a heavy underdog.

Gold Cup, Quarterfinals:
July 19 in Philadelphia, Pa.
QF1: Costa Rica vs. Panama, FS1, UniMas, 6 pm
QF2: USA vs. El Salvador, FS1, Univision, 9 pm ET.
July 20 in Glendale, Ariz.
QF3: Jamaica vs. Canada, FS1, UniMas, 7:30 pm
QF4: Mexico vs. Honduras, FS1, Univision, 10:30 pm ET.

Omar Gonzalez said the U.S. coaching staff had begun to go over El Salvador on Monday and he came away impressed.

"They are a very complicated team to play against," said Jozy Altidore, one of five first-team starters Arena brought in for the quarterfinals.

The Salvadoran national team program in still reeling from the match-fixing scandal that resulted in 14 players receiving lifetime bans and nine others serving shorter suspensions. (Goalkeeper Benji Villalobos and star forward Rodolfo Zelaya are with Los Cuscatlecos at the 2017 Gold Cup.)

El Salvador's California Connection:
*Derby Carrillo (IV, ISL)
**Efrain Burgos (Reno 1868)
*Gerson Mayen (Santa Tecla)
*Richard Menjivar (New York Cosmos)
*Born in California; raised in California.

El Salvador was last in its World Cup 2018 qualifying group without a victory and has won just three of its last 14 officials games.

It split in Group C in the first round of the Gold Cup, opening with a 3-1 loss to Mexico before beating Curacao, 2-0, and tying Jamaica, 1-1. Even in the defeat to Mexico in San Diego, Los Cuscatlecos came out and attacked.

"They did that against Mexico in the opening game in their group," Arena said, "and they've done that in every game, so I think they're going to continue to play their style. They don't look like a team that will drop back with a lot of numbers and just look to counterattack."
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