Following the US U-20 squad’s exciting 1-0 victory over Mexico and the subsequent 6-1 massacre, the young Mexicans dealt to El Salvador in the following game, the young Yanks have everything to play for as they face an El Salvador team that will undoubtedly be looking for redemption.
A US victory or draw in Friday’s game will not only qualify the the US for the 2017 U-20 World Cup in Korea, it will also put them into the CONCACAF U-20 Championship game on Sunday against Honduras. The young Yanks have never won a CONCACAF championship so this would be a way to stamp their names into history.
A loss on Friday would throw the classification group into a three way tie with the US, Mexico, and El Salvador each having one victory and one loss. The first tiebreaker is number of points which would be three for all three teams. The second tiebreaker is goal difference in matches among the tied teams. Mexico sits at +5 because of the 6-1 victory over El Salvador and the US at +1 from the match with Mexico. In short, unless El Salvador can win by two goals or more (thereby bettering the +1 the US posted against Mexico) the US would still qualify for Korea, but Mexico would play for the championship on Sunday.
How many goals has El Salvador scored in the competition you might ask? In winning their initial group with 2 victories and 1 loss they scored 5 goals and allowed 3 goals for a goal difference of +2. 3 of their goals came in a single match against an overmatched Bermuda while they scored only a single goal in each of their other group matches and then against Mexico on Wednesday.
The two leading scorers for El Salvador each have two goals. Roberto Domínguez (#3), a regular central defender for the full Santa Tecla squad who played both matches against RSL in the 2015 Champions League, has one on a free kick against Costa Rica and the other cleaning up after a corner kick against Bermuda. Domínguez also had a penalty kick saved by Mexico. Fernando Castillo, a reserve team forward at FAS, has the only goal in the run of play against Bermuda and the other on a beautiful free kick against Mexico.
In short, most of El Salvador’s goals have come from set pieces which should be a point of focus for the US team as they attempt to once again dictate the run of play and combine to score on the offensive side of the match. After the job Danny Acosta and Justen Glad did on the left side in controlling Antuna, who scored three against El Salvador on Wednesday, they should be among the starters along with Brooks Lennon, who with four goals remains the leading scorer for the US. Sebastian Saucedo sat out the match against Mexico, but with a couple of goals and rested legs, could provide some firepower in this game as well either as a starter or off the bench.