Five Things to Know - El Salvador

With the Group Stage of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup now complete, the USA takes on familiar tournament foe El Salvador in the Quarterfinals on Wednesday, July 19 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia (9 p.m. ET on FS1, UniMas and UDN).

Here are five things you should know about Wednesday’s opponent:

The Country and Nickname

Located in Central America, El Salvador is bordered by Guatemala to the northwest and Honduras to the northeast, with the entire southern shoreline touching the Pacific Ocean. With 6.4 million people, the country is the fourth most populated in Central America and 10th most in North America.

Central America

The El Salvador national teams are commonly referred to as Los Cuscatlecos, which is derived from Cuzcatlán, the name that the original inhabitants of the country gave to the western part of El Salvador. Today, the Cuscatlán Department is a state in the middle of El Salvador, where the nation’s capital, San Salvador is located. Fittingly, Los Cuscatlecos play their home matches at Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador.

Footballing History

Once a power in Central American football, El Salvador actually qualified for the FIFA World Cup in both 1970 and 1982. More recently, the country has advanced to the Final Round of World Cup Qualifying in 1998 and 2010 – notably earning a 2-2 home draw against the USA during that last cycle.

How They Got Here

El Salvador qualified for its 10th CONCACAF Gold Cup by finishing third at the 2017 Copa Centroamericana in January.

During the Gold Cup Group Stage, Los Cuscatlecos opened with a 3-1 loss to Mexico, before rebounding with a 2-0 win against Curaçao. In its final Group Stage match against Jamaica, El Salvador took a 1-0 lead through Nelson Bonilla in the 15th minute, but eventually settled for a 1-1 draw with the Reggae Boyz.

El Salvador- Jamie Alas
El Salvador's Jamie Alas in 2017 Gold Cup action vs. Canada

El Salvador is 8-15-8 all-time in CONCACAF Gold Cup play.

History vs. U.S. MNT

The U.S. first played El Salvador in a friendly on Sept. 15, 1977, earning a 2-0 win in San Salvador. Since then, the MNT has racked up a 16-1-5 all-time record against Los Cuscatlecos, going 13-0-2 on U.S. soil. The U.S. is 5-0-0 against El Salvador, holding a 17-1 advantage in goals scored in Gold Cup play.

The sides have met twice at this stage of the Gold Cup, with the USA using a Brian McBride hat trick to cruise to a 4-0 win in 2002, before getting goals from five different players in a 5-1 win in 2013. Both years, the USA went on to lift the Gold Cup.

USA-El Salvador in CONCACAF Gold Cup Play


U.S. Result

Goal Scorers


Jan. 16, 1996

2-0 W

Balboa, Wynalda

Group Stage

Jan. 27, 2002

4-0 W

McBride (3), Razov


July 12, 2003

2-0 W

McBride, Lewis

Group Stage

June 12, 2007

4-0 W

Beasley (2), Donovan, Twellman

Group Stage

July 21, 2013

5-1 W

Goodson, Corona, E. Johnson, Donovan, Diskerud


The Roster

The El Salvador roster features 15 domestic-based players, five based in the USA and one in Iceland.

San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Darwin Cerén leads the U.S. based contingent, while midfielders Andres Flores and Richard Menvijar, as well as forward Irvin Herrera all come from the NASL’s New York Cosmos. Midfielder Efrain Burgos also plays for USL side Reno 1868 FC.

El Salvador Starting XI

GOALKEEPERS (3): Oscar Arroyo (Alianza FC); Derby Carrillo (Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja/ISL); Benji Villalobos (CD Aguila)

DEFENDERS (6): Alexander Larin (Alianza FC); Ivan Mancia (Alianza FC); Ruben Marroquin (Alianza FC); Milton Molina (AD Isidro Metapan); Henry Romero (Alianza FC); Bryan Tamacas (Santa Tecla FC)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Efrain Burgos (Reno 1868 FC/USA); Darwin Ceren (San Jose Earthquakes/USA); Oscar Ceren (Alianza FC); Roberto Dominguez (Santa Tecla FC); Andres Flores (New York Cosmos/USA); Victor Garcia (CD Aguila); Gerson Mayen (Santa Tecla FC); Richard Menjivar (New York Cosmos/USA); Narciso Orellana (Alianza FC); Denis Pineda (CD Santa Clara/POR)

FORWARDS (4): Harold Alas (Santa Tecla FC); Nelson Bonilla (CD Nacional/POR); Irvin Herrera (New York Cosmos/USA); Rodolfo Zelaya (Alianza FC)