ussoccer.com has compiled a comprehensive look at the matchup against El Salvador in the fourth game of semifinal round qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. From stats and scores, to highlights and notes, ussoccer.com is the best place to find info as the USA's qualifying campaign continues from Estadio Cuscatlan in El Salvador on Saturday (October 9). Kickoff for the qualifying match was officially changed to 7:30 p.m. MT (9:30 p.m. ET), and is available live on pay-per-view through In-Demand, DirecTV and DISH Network (check your local listings for details).
BY THE NUMBERS: Want to know how many times the U.S. and El Salvador have squared off all-time, and who has the upper hand? Know how many times the U.S. has shutout the Azules in their history? Can you name the U.S. player who made his first World Cup qualifying appearance against El Salvador on Sept. 4 in Foxboro? For the complete statistical breakdown of the U.S.-El Salvador series, click here .BERHALTER ONE-ON-ONE: It was a long road back, but U.S. defender Gregg Berhalter is once again with the Men’s National Team as they get set for the next two matches in the semifinal round of qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After suffering a inadvertent elbow from a teammate last year, which ended up breaking numerous of bones in his face and forcing the central back to the sidelines, he's back on track. Berhalter and company are on the ground in El Salvador in advance of their matchup Saturday, Oct. 9, before returning to face Panama in RFK on Wednesday, Oct. 13. ussoccer.com sat down with the Energie Cottbus defender and asked him about his journey back and what he’s looking forward to as the team attempts to advance to the next round in the latest edition of “one-on-one”.
ONALFO ON EL SALVADOR: U.S. Assistant Coach Curt Onalfo once again sheds light on this weekend's opponent, looking at the changes in El Salvador's team, the uncertainty surrounding their revamped lineup, and who and what to watch out for as the USA seeks three points in its final road match of the semifinal round. From players, formations and tactics, Onalfo provides a coach's insight in this week's Scouting Report.
THE SEMIFINAL ROUND SETUP: The semifinal round consists of three four-team groups playing a six-game round robin competition, with the top two finishers from each group moving onto the final round of qualifying in 2005. Taking place from Aug.18-Nov.17, the U.S. and El Salvador are joined in Group 1 by Jamaica and Panama. Group 2 consists of Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras, while Group 3 is made up of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The USA holds the lead in Group 1 with five points, while Jamaica and Panama sit one behind after posting matching 1-1-1 records. For a complete look at all the standings and schedules for CONCACAF qualifying, click here.
- Twenty-one players made the charter flight to El Salvador last night, with the MetroStars duo of Jonny Walker and Eddie Gaven returning to New York for their Saturday match against the Eastern Conference champion Columbus Crew. Arena will finalize the 18-man roster after Friday afternoon's session at the Estadio Cuscatlan.
- Tony Sanneh continues to improve from the minor hamstring strain he suffered last weekend, and is expected to be available for selection. Pablo Mastroeni picked up a bruised hip at the end of yesterday's session, but is also ready to go if called upon.
- Sanneh joins the U.S. for the first time since returning to MLS, the 32-year-old having scored in his last appearance for the USA, a 4-0 win against Honduras on June 2 in Foxboro. Colorado Rapids defender Pablo Mastroeni, who has played five times in 2004, last started in the 1-1 draw against Poland on July 11 in Chicago.
- The U.S. has a 3-0-2 lifetime record in World Cup qualifying against El Salvador, and a 1-1-2 record on Salvadoran soil. All time, the USA holds a 11-1-4 advantage in the series.
- The United States cannot clinch a spot for the final round tomorrow, regardless of results. Should the U.S. win the next two matches, they will automatically advance to the final-round hexagonal. Otherwise, the outcomes of the cross-over matches will determine the USA's position. For a look at the U.S. group, click here.
- Of the 15 World Cup Qualifying matches the U.S. Men's National Team has played in Central America since 1965, the team has won only three of them, with all three of those victories coming in Honduras. That means that heading into El Salvador on Saturday night the U.S. is a whopping 0-for-11 in earning three points in World Cup qualifying games in Central America not played in Honduras.
- Eleven players on the roster appeared in the USA’s 2-0 win against El Salvador on Sept. 4 in Foxboro, with eight (Beasley, Bocanegra, Casey, Convey, Donovan, Gibbs, Howard, Zavagnin) making the starter's list. Landon Donovan recorded the second goal in that match, while Tim Howard picked up the clean sheet.
- DaMarcus Beasley continues to set the pace for U.S. attackers, his four goals best for the U.S. in 2004, and he remains the only player to appear in all 12 of the USA’s matches this year. Beasley has recorded three goals in 2006 World Cup qualifying action so far, including a pair in the USA’s 3-2 victory against Grenada on June 13 in Columbus.
- Brian McBride has six goals all-time against the Azules, leading all U.S. scorers, and is second on the USA’s all-time goal scoring charts with 25 goals. He's proven the ability to score against El Salvador when it counts, as two goals came in the USA's 4-2 victory in a 1998 World Cup qualifier on Nov. 16, 1997 at Foxboro Stadium, while he tallied a goal and an assist in the 2-0 victory in the opening game of the 2003 Gold Cup in Foxboro last July.
- Cobi Jones is the senior statesman on the roster, the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder’s 163 caps good for the top spot on the all-time U.S. list, and tied for fourth in the world with Hossam Hassan of Egypt. He needs just one more appearance to equal Adnan Khamees Al Talyani of the United Arab Emirates. Jones tallied the last-second equalizer that gave the United States a 1-1 draw against Panama on Sept. 8 and a crucial point on the road.
- Should Jones appear against El Salvador, he will equal Earnie Stewart's mark of 30 all-time appearances in World Cup qualifying play
- On the other end of the spectrum, Dallas Burn forward Eddie Johnson and Standard de Liege defender Oguchi Onyewu are the only two rostered players yet to earn their first cap for the U.S.
- The U.S. has shown itself to be a 90-minute team in 2004, a credit to the side's conditioning and mentality. Of the 19 goals scored in 2004, ten have come in the final 15 minutes. Two of those goals sealed a U.S. victory, and five of them secured a draw after the team trailed 1-0.
- Kasey Keller is tops on the all-time win list for U.S. goalkeepers with 39 wins in 72 appearances, having surpassed Tony Meola in the USA's 3-0 win against Grenada in the first leg of second round qualifying on June 13 in Columbus. Keller’s clean sheet that day was the 34th of his career, extending his U.S. record.
- Manchester United goalkeeper Tim Howard returns to the fold after posting a 2-0 shutout win against the Azules in his first World Cup qualifying start on Sept. 4 in Foxboro. The 2004 EPL Goalkeeper of the Year earned his first cap for the United States in the 1-0 victory against Ecuador on March 10, 2002 in Birmingham, Ala.
On the field for the USA
September 8, 2004 – Estadio Rommel Fernandez, Panama – FIFA World Cup Qualifier, Second Stage, First Leg
Panama 1 Roberto Brown 69
USA 1 Cobi Jones 92+
Attendance: 14,500 (est.)
USA – 18-Kasey Keller; 2-Frankie Hejduk, 23-Eddie Pope, 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 3-Greg Vanney; 10-Claudio Reyna, 17-DaMarcus Beasley, 21-Landon Donovan, 11-Clint Mathis (13-Cobi Jones, 57); 25-Brian Ching (7-Eddie Lewis, 77), 9-Conor Casey (20-Brian McBride, 62).
PAN – 1-Donaldo Gonzalez; 2-Carlos Rivera, 3-Luis Moreno, 4-Luis Henriquez, 5-Anthony Torres; 6-Engin Mitre, 7-Alberto Zapata (15-Ricardo Phillips, 38), 8-Manuel Torres (14-Juan Carlos Cubilla, 78), 9-Julio Dely Valdes (18-Jorge Dely Valdes, 72); 10-Julio Medina, 11-Roberto Brown.
On the field for El Salvador
September 8, 2004 – Cuscatlan Stadium, San Salvador – FIFA World Cup Qualifier, Second Stage, First Leg
El Salvador 0
Jamaica 3 Marlon King 3, 38; Micah Hyde 40.
SLV – 1-Noel Rivera; 4-Mario Guevara (William Torres, 66), 5-Victor Velasquez, 6-Erick Prado, 7-Victor Merino (Alexander Escobar, 88), 11-Ronald Cerritos, 15-Nildeson Silva (Naun Galdamez, 61), 17-Jorge Rodriguez, 18-Gilberto Murgas, 19-Alfredo Pacheco, 23-Jose Martinez.
JAM – 30-Donovan Ricketts; 3-Damian Steward, 6-Marlon King (Jermaine Johnson, 83), 8-James Lawrence, 10-Ricardo Fuller (Andrew Williams, 76), 11-Theodore Whitmore, 14-Tyrone Marshall, 15-Ricardo Gardner, 17-Micah Hyde, 20-Damani Ralph, 25-Claude Davis (Craig Ziadie, 13)
Vs. El Salvador
September 4, 2004 –Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts – FIFA World Cup Qualifier, Second Stage, First Leg
United States 2 Brian Ching 5; Landon Donovan 69
El Salvador 0
USA – 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo (13-Cobi Jones, 69), 4-Carlos Bocanegra, 12-Cory Gibbs, 15-Bobby Convey; 10-Claudio Reyna (Capt.), 5-Kerry Zavagnin (11-Clint Mathis, 82), 21-Landon Donovan, 17-DaMarcus Beasley; 25-Brian Ching, 9-Conor Casey (20-Brian McBride, 76).
SLV – 1-Santos Rivera; 4-Mario Guevara, 5-Victor Velasquez (Capt.), 6-Erick Prado, 19-Alfredo Pacheco; 12-Denis Alas (ejected, 26), 17-Jorge Rodriguez, 18-Gilberto Murgas, 8-Edwin Gonzalez (7-Victor Merino, 46); 21-Josue Galdamez (9-Diego Mejia, 46), 11-Ronald Cerritos.