March 28, 2009
GAINING A POINT
U.S. comes back from 2-0 deficit to tie
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador---The United States might be the dominant team in its region, but that still does not mean road wins or points for that matter are automatic. The Americans found that out, with a hard fought 2-2 draw against El Salvador Saturday night.
|Defender Frankie Hejduk set up the first U.S. goal, then scored the equalizer.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The tie could very easily have been a loss, as the Americans needed late game heroics from Jozy Altidore and Frankie Hejduk to pull back from a 2-0 deficit.
The Salvadoran’s jumped out quickly, sending the packed house at Estadio Cuscatlan into a frenzy in the 15th minute when Osael Romero slotted a ball through the U.S. defense and Eliseo Quintanilla broke through and put the ball past goalkeeper Brad Guzan to the far post. Guzan was in nets in place of Tim Howard who was serving a yellow card suspension.
El Salvador took a 2-0 lead in the 72nd minute when Cristian Castillo out jumped Hejduk at the far post and headed a cross from Rodolfo Zelaya past Guzan.
The U.S. had some chances in the first half, including a 25 yard free kick over the wall by Clint Dempsey that went right at goalkeeper Juan Jose Gomez and a 22 yarder free kick by Landon Donovan in the 34th that sailed over the net.
Just before the half, it looked like the U.S. had equalized, but a goal by Brian Ching off a free kick by Donovan was called back for offside.
With the clock working against them, the American finally broke through. Ching sent a ball down the right wing to an overlapping Hejduk. The Columbus Crew defender sent a perfect cross to Altidore at the far post for the finish.
Eleven minutes later it was Hejduk who got his head on a ball that bounced through a scrum following a corner kick for the equalizer.
Guzan kept a sure goal out of thenet in the 32nd minute, barely getting his fingers on a shot by Romero and sending it just inches wide of the post.
Ching had two chances in the long stoppage time for the winner, a shot in close that was grabbed by Gomez, and a bicycle kick shortly before the whistle that was cleared off the line.
The point keeps the U.S. at the top of the CONCACAF qualifying group at 1-0-1 with four points, ahead of Mexico (1-1-0) and Costa Rica (1-1-0).