USMNT 1-0 El Salvador, summary: Pepi goal, score, goals & highlights | CONCACAF Nations League
USMNT vs El Salvador: as it happened
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That will feel good in the morning...
But maybe not for Aaronson, who may have 1,000,000 bruises.
Full time report: USA 1-0 El Salvador
Another slim victory for the US against El Salvador but one that will feel great tomorrow morning.
Pepi's first touch was enough to see the US through to the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League.
The first half saw the USMNT huff and puff and struggle to get out of first gear for the whole 45 minutes, with El Salvador creating clear chances and looking even more comfortable than the home side both on and off the ball.
Chances were created only from set-pieces and Dest crosses from the right; apart from that, the US looked tired and every pass forward led to nowhere.
The second half was a different story from the beginning, with Reyna hitting the post inside the first minute and after that they did not stop attacking. Pulisic looked like a football player as did Reyna, who made people forget about the team's first half horror show.
The goal came seconds after Pepi was brought on for Dike, with a nice pass from McKennie playing in the forward, who had the awareness and the calm head and feet to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.
After the goal, the US continued to dominate, with plenty of half chances and a few good opportunities to score. But the scoreline didn't change and Hudson's side grab another win to finish top of their group.
The USA are through to the semi-finals!
We're into the last minute now. El Salvador are keeping the ball... but they are not moving it towards the goal.
McKennie is down and won't continue...
The USA break and Pulisic gets the ball in the left channel. He hits a wild shot that flies over.
4 added minutes.
We're into the last minute now; El Salvador have begun to push again...
PULISIC JUST OVER THE BAR!
Aaronson takes a throw-in down with his boot before flicking the ball over the defenders and into the path of Pulisic who smacks a volley over the bar from a tight angle on the left side.
De la Torre has tried 3 no-look passes in the few minutes he has been on the pitch. Can someone remind him what happened to Dest about 10 minutes ago?
Dest's cross is high and Pepi does fantastically to pluck it out of the air like an apple on a tree. His touch is sublime and his shot is slightly weak and just allows González to get good contact on the ball and push it wide from inside the six-yard box.
PEP WITH ANOTHER CHANCE!
GONZÁLEZ MAKES A GREAT SAVE
Aaronsonhas been on for 30 minutes and must have been fouled 30 times. He will be waking up with some bruises tomorrow.
The home side continue to push but El Salvador know that they can challenge on the counter attack; this is not over yet.
El Salvador centre-back Zavaleta does well to clear a cross from Aaronson who was found down the right side by McKennie: he has begun to dictate the play for the USMNT.
PEPI SHOOTS JUST WIDE!
The home side attack down the right and the cross, again, lands at the feet of Ricardo Pepi, whose right-footed shot flies wide of the far post.
Aarsonson tries a shot as he connects with a cross from the right but his weak effort is blocked.
El Salvador get in behind the defence and Cristian Gil manages to get on the end of a nice cross, but the flag is up as he stands in front of goal, all on his own.
We're into the last 15 minutes.
Dest spins away from his opposite number and gets such a confidence boost that he tries a no-look pass as he exits the defensive third, which is about as intelligent as pouring lemon juice in your eyes.
It's immediately cut out and El Salvador counter.
Booth and De la Torre ON
Reyna and Musah OFF
For the sake of Valencia and their safety in LaLiga this season, let's hope the Yunus Musah injury isn't anything serious.
We're back underway. No sign of Musah as of yet.
CristianGilison for his brother, Brayan.
Musah is down injured.
PEPI CLOSE AGAIN!
Reyna gets down the wing and puts a cross in from the left that falls to Pepi, whose shot is blocked from inside the box.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR EL SALVADOR!
The ball goes straight up the other end and lands with Mayer Gil before crossing it to his brother whose shot bounces awkwardly and just wide from such close range.
What a great goal. The ball is played behind the defence from McKennie to Pepi who runs onto the pass and chips a delightful shot over the goalkeeper.
His first touch. Does that end the Pepi vs Dike debate?
Zendejas and Dike OFF
Aaronson and Pepi ON
GIL SHOOTS SO CLOSE!
El Salvador try a couple of quick counter attacks and the ball falls to Gil who hits it from distance and the shot flies just wide of Turner's far post.
Robinson wins a corner for the US after good work down the left.
You can't help but feel that the home side need to score before the nerves and/or frustration begin to set in.
Landaverde and Dueñas OFF
Martínez and Gil ON
Some more heroic defending from the away side who are bailing water right now. The waves of attacks are crashing in repeatedly and it looks like a matter of time before one hits them where it hurts.
OFF THE LINE FROM TAMACAS!
Zendejas sends a looping cross over from the right that almost drops into the goal but Tamacas got a boot on the ball to hook it out and away from the danger zone.
McKennie thinks he took Neville Longbottom's invisible cloak during the week as he pulls back Orellana thinking that the referee won't notice.
The half-time oranges have worked for the US, who look fully charged now.
Well, I wonder what words of wisdom Hudson used at half-time to get his side fired up like this!
González almost gets caught out by some pressure from Pulisic, but the goalkeeper manages to clear his lines.
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR THE USA!
The ball flies across goal from the left and nobody can quite get a touch on it, except for a defender.
The resulting corner is played in and some last-second defending saves El Salvador again as the ball is plucked off the line and away.
REYNA OFF THE POST!
He got behind in the first minute of the first half and he's done the same here!
It was a great touch inside from the left and he thwacked the ball low and hard into the post from inside the box.
And we're off!
Gil plays the ball and the second half has begun!
No changes for the US; both teams back out on the pitch for the second half.
Roldán is off for Blanco.
USMNT manager at half-time:
"We need to get more control. We need control."
"We need to sort out defensive shape out. It's too easy for them."
Turner has been the USMNT's best player
He made a fantastic save from an Henríquez shot early on and has been solid ever since, especially against Gil.
Well, that did not go to plan for the US, who have huffed and puffed for 45+ minutes against an incredibly spirited El Salvador side who look well up for the game.
The home side have not managed to string a decent set of passes together as of yet and all of their danger has come from free-kicks or a couple of half-chances that Dest has forged from pretty much nothing.
McKennie and Musah look like two lost lambs in the middle of the pitch and Zendejas is running around like he's got to tell everyone his very important news, but they're failing to create so far against a resolute but incredibly comfortable opponent who are well in the game.
And that's half time!
WESTON MCKENNIE HAS THE BEST CHANCE OF THE GAME!
A free-kick from the right gets floated to the back post where the Leeds man is completely on his own - but he fires a diving header wide!
El Salvador waste a huge amount of added time on taking a long free-kick from the middle of the pitch that is hit straight over the head of the US goalkeeper.
4 added minutes.
The USA have started to work the ball on the edge of the El Salvador box, but it goes nowhere after around 60 seconds of constant passing and movement.
Roldán does well to get his head on the ball after another decent cross from Dest.
Dueñas wastes a chance for his side on the edge of the box: he has an opening to shoot but instead looks to play it left and the pass gets cut out. The goal was calling him, and so were the fans.
A corner for El Salvador almost ends with a counter attack from Pulisic and Reyna, but the away side swarm like rude bees all around the US players and don't give them a moment to think.
Gil is back on the pitch and looks good to carry on. He's been a huge pest for Ream and Robinson so far with his physical presence.
SO CLOSE FROM GIL!
Gil broke through the US midfield and played a ball out to Henríquez who crossed it back in towards him and the header was saved by Turner.
The debutant is now down injured...
Zavaleta has just held onto the ball at centre-back for over 5 seconds and not one single US player has gone to press. That's the level of intensity we're seeing at times tonight from Hudson's XI.
"Sí se puede" coming from the El Salvador fans in the stands... they believe they can get a result against this US side who cannot get out of second gear.
Pulisic shoots from the tight angle that the free-kick offered on the left and it's defended comfortably by the away side.
A hugely dangerous free-kick for the US now after Dike is tumbled down by Reyes on the edge of the box. He had no other choice as the striker was through on goal...
REYNA GOES CLOSE!
The winger finds some space in a central area after bursting in from the left. He unleashes a low drive to the near corner but the goalkeeper makes light work of the effort.
Something of a chance for the US as Dest beats his man and puts a ball in for Dike, who can't get on the end of the cross and ends up wildly off balance like a one-eyed giraffe on a trampoline.
El Salvador have a few attempts at putting the ball into the box and they're all defended by Ream and Turner.
Someone should get the pot of coffee on for when the half-time whistle goes.
McKennie tries to take on one, then two, then falls over. The USMNT can't quite get going here and El Salvador look very comfortable in holding them off.
Dike is pulled to the ground by Zavaleta as the ball falls from the sky and the referee, again, waves the challenge away.
Musah's back on the pitch.
He's up and looks OK to continue for now, despite being in a lot of pain.
Free-kick to the US after Deuñas fouls Musah with a strong shoulder push. The medical staff are on the pitch...
Some sloppy touches from the home side allowEl Salvador to get a foot on the ball and go back to passing it around before driving forward with their wild winger, Henríquez.
Dest looks to be brought down in the box but the referee says no!
There is no VAR today so that is that.
The right-back made it into the box and looked to be tripped by Tamacas but it wasn't given.
Henríquez slides the ball through the legs of Dest and the 'wooo' from the crowd is delightful.
Some possession now for the home side, who begin to pass the ball between the defenders.
McKennie leaps like an American salmon and almost heads the ball into the path of Ream, but González catches the header.
Diketripped about 35/40 yards from goal. The USA have a chance to regroup and move up the pitch.
Turner forced into coming out again, this time to collect a dangerous cross from Henríquez, who whipped the ball towards the strikers.
I have to say, if you told me that the USMNT were playing in white (they're in blue) then I'd believe you. El Salvador are popping the ball around very well so far, and look like they have a lot of confidence.
Aaaaand breathe... it was just a scare. He looks OK to carry on.
Turner is down and the referee has stopped the play.
Ream pressed by Dueñas in the middle of the pitch and a huge cheer goes up around the Exploria Stadium. We've got a fantastic atmosphere to accompany us tonight.
Turner has to come well out of his goal to stop Gil from getting in behind after a long pass from González in the away team's goal.
They may be the underdogs but they're playing like Goliath in the story so far.
El Salvador are having all the ball in the opening stages; the USA are trying to chase them.
McKennie gets frustrated and lifts an arm towards Tamacas, who goes down like a dying swan.
Wow, what a lively start to the game!
HENRÍQUEZ GOES SO CLOSE!
Turner with the save!
The winger took the ball on the left and hit a right-footed shot towards the far post that was tipped behind!
Reyna gets behind the defence and even past the goalkeeper, but the linesman had called the offside about 10 seconds earlier and the forward didn't hear the whistle.
And we're off!
The USMNT get us going from right to left.
OK, niceties over - it's time for the football!
We have got the national anthems now:
El Salvador up first... and it's a very lively number. I like it.
The Star-Spangled banner is being sung live, and it's very emotional for everyone in the stands.
Here we go... the teams are in the tunnel!
Here's a reminder of the lineups:
USMNT starting XI:
Dest, Robinson, Ream, Robinson
Pulisic, Zendejas, Reyna
El Salvador starting XI:
Roldán, Zavaleta, Domínguez, Tamacas
Henríquez, Orellana, Dueñas, Landaverde
Want to watch the game today?
Remember, you can watch USMNT vs El Salvador live on FuboTV.
Yunus, you cheeky devil. Here's the Valencia midfielder's cheeky message to El Salvador ahead of the game today.
Here's confirmation of the El Salvador starting XI:
Happy with that XI? Do we think it can cause an upset today against the US?
Here's the setting for tonight's clash: the Exploria Stadium.
Opened in 2017, it holds 25,500 people and will be absolutely full to the brim tonight with expectant fans on both sides!
El Salvador starting XI:
Roldán - Zavaleta - Domínguez - Tamacas
Henríquez - Orellana - Dueñas - Landaverde
Gil - Reyes Ortiz
Seven pre-game El Salvador stats:
- The USA are on a 21-game unbeaten streak against El Salvador which dates back to 1993
- El Salvador has participated in two World Cups – in 1970 and 1982
- El Salvador is one of four sides that were promoted to Nations League A
- El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated of the seven Central American countries
- The first known football game in El Salvador was held in 1899.
- El Salvador’s biggest win is 12-0, against Anguila
- Hugo Pérez helped the United States qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and played for the U.S. at World Cup ‘94.
And the 8 answers are...
1- Sergiño Dest
2- Weston McKennie
3- Yunus Musah
4- Christian Pulisic
5- Tim Ream
6- Gio Reyna
7- Antonee Robinson
8- Matt Turner
Did you get them all?
Here are the USMNT squad numbers for this Nations League call-up
Who do you want to see feature today?
Eight players from the 2022 FIFA World Cup squad will start tonight against El Salvador, but who are they?
You have 10 minutes!
Write your answers to @English_AS or @j4brennan on Twitter, and I'll post the first correct reader on the feed!
The USMNT 'lineup notes':
Anthony Hudson makes seven changes to the Starting XI that faced Grenada on Friday, going with defenders Sergiño Dest, Antonee Robinson, Miles Robinson and Tim Ream, midfielder Yunus Musah, and forwards Daryl Dike and Alex Zendejas.
Remember, you can watch USMNT vs El Salvador live on FuboTV.
USMNT starting XI:
Dest - Ream - Robinson - A Robinson
Musah - McKennie - Zendejas
Reyna - Dike - Pulisic
You can watch a live stream of the USA vs El Salvador Concacaf Nations League game on FuboTV.
You're a wizard, Weston!
Weston McKennie met one of his idols (and Brenden went along too) as Leeds fan Matthew Lewis, better known as Neville Longbottom, snapped a pic with the two Leeds United boys!
If only poor Tyler Adams wasn't injured... he'll be sat at home looking at this photo like the crying Wolverine meme.
Here's how things stand:
Pulisic's side have the chance to make it to the semi-finals in June with a point here tonight.
Their 7-1 thrashing of Grenada was enough to see them shoot to the top of the group and given they have a game in hand, a positive result is worth more than just good feelings for the side.
Here's how you can watch the game live on TV or online, as well as follow the "funny, interesting and insightful coverage" on AS USA. Thanks to my mother for writing that review.
Balogun won't be in front of the cameras...
The man in the headlines is keeping away.
England boss Gareth Southgate was firm when talking about him this week, saying "we can't go and give first-team call-ups to someone just because we don’t want them to go somewhere else. ... He's obviously not had an opportunity in the Premier League yet, so we have to weigh up those goals to Ivan [Toney], for example, or Ollie Watkins."
Despite the poor record, El Salvador's assistant coach is confident they can give the USMNT a good game tonight. Check out what he had to say here:
Last 5 meetings:
El Salvador's record in terms of results is not great, they haven't beaten the US team since 1992, but the results aren't as one-sided as you may think:
- June 2022, Concacaf Nations League: El Salvador 1-1 USA
- January 2022, WC Qualification Concacaf: USA 1-0 El Salvador
- September 2021, WC Qualification Concacaf: El Salvador 0-0 USA
- July 2017, Friendly: USA 6-0 El Salvador
- July 2017, Concacaf Gold Cup: USA 2-0 El Salvador
In a rare occurrence, both squads are fit and firing for tonight's game so there is not going to be any surprise exclusions due to injury... fingers crossed it stays that way.
Hello and a very warm welcome to the AS USA live coverage of the USMNT vs El Salvador in the CONCACAF Nations League.
It’s Joe here for the football fun and I’ll be guiding you through the action that could see the USMNT end top of the group. The US can also secure a spot in June’s semi-finals with a draw.