Five Things to Know About El Salvador

The USMNT hosts El Salvador in both teams’ final Group D match of the Concacaf Nations League on Monday, March 27 (7:30 p.m. ET on TNT, Universo and Peacock)
By: Michael Lewis

After a 7-1 away win against Grenada on Friday night, the U.S. Men’s National Team can clinch a spot in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals with a draw or win against El Salvador in its League A, Group D finale on Monday, June 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET (TNT, Universo and Peacock).


El Salvador has participated in two World Cups – in 1970 and 1982. The squad finished last – 16th and 24th, respectively, in both competitions.

Los Cuscatlecos have participated in eight consecutive Concacaf Gold Cups, reaching the quarterfinals in 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2021.

They finished third in Copa Centroamericana six times, most recently in 2017 and also captured the Central American and Caribbean Games championship in 2002.

El Salvador is one of four sides that were promoted to Nations League A after finishing atop their group in League B play during the inaugural 2019-20 edition of the competition.

The Central American side failed to reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, finishing in seventh place in the Concacaf Octagonal with a 2-8-4 mark and 10 points.


The USA enters the match with a 19-1-7 record against El Salvador, dating back to a 2-1 win in San Salvador on Sept. 21, 1977. The Americans are unbeaten in 21 consecutive matches against their Central American foes. Their lone loss was a 2-0 road setback in a friendly on Feb. 19, 1992.

In recent matches, the teams played to a scoreless draw to open 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying in San Salvador on Sept. 2, 2021. In the return leg, the USA utilized Antonee Robinson’s 52nd minute strike to earn a 1-0 win at Field in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 27, 2022.

In their first meeting in the CNL on June 14, 2022, the USA came from behind to tie La Selecta on a rain-soaked, mud-patched field at Estadio Cuscatlán, San Salvador. Jordan Morris brought the Americans level in second half stoppage time, heading in Luca de la Torre’s cross for the tying goal.


Since playing the USMNT to a 1-1 home draw in the CNL last June 14, El Salvador has competed in only three international matches, losing all of them and scoring but once.

Peru registered a 4-1 victory at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 27, 2022, as Alexander Larin scored La Selecta’s lone goal via a penalty kick in the 34th minute. The Central American side then closed out the year with a 1-0 loss at Nicaragua on Nov. 16, 2022.

In its most recent match, the La Selected dropped a 1-0 decision to Honduras at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on March 22, as Melvin Cartagena scored an own goal in the 34th minute.


Hugo Pérez should be a name quite familiar to soccer fans as the former USMNT midfielder helped the United States qualify for the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and played for the U.S. at World Cup ‘94.

Today, he is directing the country of his birth. After emigrating with his family to the Los Angeles area as a nine-year-old, Pérez gained U.S. citizenship years later. Considered one of the best attacking players of his era, Perez scored 13 goals in 73 international matches.

Perhaps his most memorable goal came against El Salvador. In a game that was moved to Tegucigalpa, Honduras because of crowd violence during a previous qualifier in El Salvador, Perez scored the lone goal in the 62nd minute to boost the USA to a 1-0 win on Sept. 17, 1989, and a big step toward qualifying for its first World Cup in 40 years.

He earned many honors during his playing days. The attacker was the 1991 U.S. Soccer Athlete of the year and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2008.

Pérez served as U.S. Under-14 and U-15 coach from 2012-14 before becoming an assistant coach with El Salvador from 2015-16, taking the reins as the U-23 coach and later the full national side earlier this year.


Head coach Hugo Pérez called in a relatively young team and 22 players for the March 23 friendly loss to Honduras and for El Salvador's CNL finale vs. the USA.

Forward Mayer Gil is the youngest at 19, while defender Eriq Zavaleta is the oldest at 30.

Twelve players perform domestically, including five for FAS and three for Alianza.

Another five players compete in three U.S. leagues. Goalkeeper Tomas Romero (Toronto FC) and defenders Alex Roldan (Seattle Sounders) and Zavaleta (LA Galaxy) play in Major League Soccer. Defender Nelson Flores (North Carolina FC) participates in the USL Championship and defender Bryan Tamacas (Oakland Roots) plays in the National Independent Soccer Association).

Tamacas has accrued the most caps (62), followed by midfielder Narciso Orellana (56) and defender Roberto Dominguez (55).


GOALKEEPERS: Mario González (Alianza, 27/0), Tomas Romero (Toronto FC/USA; 6/0)

DEFENDERS: Bryan Tamacas (Oakland Roots/USA; 62/0) Roberto Domínguez (FAS; 55/1), Eriq Zavaleta (LA Galaxy/USA; 20/1), Alex Roldan (Seattle Sounders/USA; 17/2), Nelson Flores (North Carolina FC/USA; 7/0), Romulo Villalobos (Dragon; 6/1), Rudy Clavel (FAS; 4/0), William Canales (Alianza; 1/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Narciso Orellana (Alianza; 56/1), Jairo Henriquez (Colorado Springs Switchbacks/USA; 34/3), Enrico Duenas (Cartagena/COL; 15/1), Bryan Landaverde (FAS; 14/0), Christian Martínez (San Carlos/CRC; 12/0), Melvin Cartagena (Aguila; 3/0), Leonardo Menjívar (Chalatenango; 1/0)

FORWARDS: Cristian Gil (FAS; 11/2), Kevin Reyes (FAS; 11/0), Juan Carlos Argueta, (Jocoro; 1/0), Mayer Gil Alianza Petrolera/COL; 1/0), Brayan Gil Hurtado Deportes Tolima/COL; 0/0)