Occasionally soccer transcends mere sport and is elevated to an art form. Teams and individuals produce magic and create sublime moments of elation that transport the viewer to another plane of existence. That did not happen at all in this game. On a damp night in rainy San Salvador the USMNT put an onion in their belt and got Concacaf’d. It was the team’s first trip to El Salvador since a whelming 0-0 draw that started off muddy and messy and got even more sludgy and chaotic as the night went on.
The Stars and Stripes lined up numerically except for Ethan Horvath according to this graphic furnished on Twitter.
Our boys.— USMNT (@USMNT) June 15, 2022
For El Salvador matched the USA with XI guys lined up in numerical order.
In the end, the field was really muddy and hard to play on, there were two very unlikely goals, each team got a red card, and it ended in a 1-1 draw. At the very least, a young team faced adversity and had to hang tough to put themselves in the best position to win a point and nobody got hurt.
Gifs of things that happened in a bog of some sort
The first half featured the teams really struggling to overcome the conditions, the ball was in the air a lot. In the 7th minute Tim Weah said, “yeah why not?” and fired one over the bar from 30 yards. Yunus Musah worked a shot that was saved and Haji Wright was played through nicely by Pulisic, but his shot went wide.
Then El Salvador broke the deadlock when Alexander Larin said, “yeah, why not?” and fired one in on a shot that was on a 45 degree angle from goal. It was the kind of thing that could be written off as a lucky cross, but it seemed like a shot all the way. Horvath clearly wasn’t expecting a shot from there as he was positioned to dispute a cross that might come it, but he probably should have had the near post covered... on the other hand this is about as unlikely a goal as someone could score.
From then on the tactical matchup of the game evolved from two teams just trying stuff because the field was a wreck to El Salvador sitting back to defend their lead with the pitch acting as an extra defender and the Americans trying to find some Concacaf magic. The magic never came and the teams went into the half with the home team up 1-0.
Gregg Berhalter wen tot he bench and made two changes with Brenden Aaronson and Haji Wright coming off for Jesus Ferreira and Weston McKennie. The Americans would start getting some decent chances with possibly the most promising coming when Musah ran through the El Salvador backline and played a one-two working a shot just before the hour mark.
Musah was THIS close to equalizing for the US pic.twitter.com/58Rf35zwbY— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 15, 2022
In the 62nd minute, Weah would come off for Paul Arriola... who got a red card in the 70th minute for a foul that looked a little... gentle.
Paul Arriola was shown a red for this challenge pic.twitter.com/LxKRg84MwP— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 15, 2022
In a typical game, the team ahead would play extra cautiously and take their chances against a team down a man to wrap the game up. But this is Concacaf so in the 80th minute Ronald Rodríguez got a red card of his own after pulling down Musah from behind. At this point Berhalter made more changes with Luca de la Torre coming in for Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jordan Morris replacing Tyler Adams.
The resulting free kick almost saw Musah find an equalizer, but his shot was blocked. The last five minutes had everything, El Salvador had players stretchered off, the keeper got a yellow for time wasting, the Americans almost equalized on a corner and then
AMERICAN HERO JORDAN MORRIS ELEVATED LIKE A MAJESTIC EAGLE AND SOARED OVER THE MUD TO SCORE AN EQUALIZING GOAL
Neither team managed to score in injury time and the match ended at 1-1 in a in a true symphony of Concacaf.