The Gold Cup quarterfinals are here, and the USMNT will square off against El Salvador tomorrow at 6pm PST in Philadelphia. Will the Americans advance?
The USMNT helped themselves in the Gold Cup knockout stage by dropping Nicaragua 3-0 in the final game of Group Play to claim Group B and avoid Costa Rica in the quarterfinals. They will instead take on El Salvador in the knockout stage at Lincoln Field in Philadelphia at 6pm PST. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and livestreamed on Fox Sports Go.
The USMNT survived and won their Gold Cup group without the steady veteran presences of Sounders forward Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, and others. After their win over Nicaragua, USMNT head coach Bruce Arena decided to bring back his veterans (probably the plan all along) for the knockout round.
This USMNT is now a favorite to advance past El Salvador in the Gold Cup with Dempsey, Altidore, Michael Bradley, Tim Howard, and Darlington Nagbe (this is the only time you can root for the Portland Timbers star).
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Jordan Morris survived the last round of cuts, probably due to his goal-scoring heroics in the Group Play match against upstart Martinique, but his Sounders teammate Cristian Roldan was left off the knockout round roster by Arena to make room for the cavalry.
For the Salvadorians to have a chance against this all-star team of US soccer stars, they’ll need to withstand the fierce USMNT attack. Altidore, Dempsey, Morris, and Nagbe will try to create constant scoring opportunities before El Salvador has a chance to resist and build confidence as the match goes on. If the US can finish in front of the net early, they can put all hopes of an upset to bed.
The time to evaluate players is over. Arena is shifting to a win-now attitude. If they beat El Salvador as expected, they could have a big test in front of them if Costa Rica beats Group B runner-up Panama. Meanwhile, Mexico looms on the other side of the Gold Cup bracket.