Latter fails to make the most of a handful of chances
The United States kicked off its road to World Cup redemption with a 0-0 draw against El Salvador on Thursday as the final round of CONCACAF 2022 World Cup Qualifiers got under way.
The US, aiming to bounce back from the shock of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, was frustrated for long periods by a battling El Salvador side and failed to make the most of a handful of chances that came its way.
US coach Gregg Berhalter’s young side started brightly to carve out early chances for Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna before Brenden Aaronson also saw a deflected effort go over the bar.
Miles Robinson saw a golden chance go waste in the ninth minute when he met Reyna’s floated free kick in space but was unable to get a diving free header on target.
El Salvador worked its way into the contest with some energetic pressing that knocked US out of its stride.
Ronald Gomez came closest to scoring for the Salvadorans in the opening phase of the game, his header from Marvin Monterroza’s corner flying over the bar in the 16th minute.
Three minutes later, the US surged forward again when Barcelona full-back Sergino Dest cut in from the left and unleashed a low shot which forced El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez into a low save.
That however was as good as it got in a mostly disappointing first-half, which despite some bright touches from Marseille’s Konrad De La Fuente and Norwich’s Josh Sargent, saw the US struggle to eke out more clearcut chances.
Dramatic win for Mexico
In other matches, host Mexico grabbed a dramatic 2-1 victory over Jamaica after Henry Martin’s 89th minute winner.
Jamaica had looked to be heading for a battling point after Shamar Nicholson’s 65th-minute goal made it 1-1 following Alexis Vega’s 50th minute opener for El Tri.
In Toronto, Canada came from behind to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Honduras while Panama was held to a 0-0 draw by Costa Rica in Panama City.
Canada 1 (Larin 66-pen) drew with Honduras 1 (Rodriguez 40-pen); Panama 0 drew with Costa Rica 0; El Salvador 0 drew with USA 0; Mexico 2 (Vega 50, Martin 89) bt Jamaica 1 (Nicholson 65).
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