It was not pretty but a header from defender Frankie Hejduk in the 88th minute allowed the U.S. to salvage a point in San Salvador. Down 2-0 with 15 minutes to play the U.S. showed an impressive fighting spirit to came behind to tie the game.
With the tie, the U.S. now has four points through two games of the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, putting them in sole possession of first place.
“El Salvador played with a tremendous about of energy, and it was our challenge to match it,” said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. “When we found ourselves behind it took a great effort from our players to fight back and come away with a point. We prepared for this game knowing that El Salvador would be difficult. We found ourselves behind, and that was not part of the plan, and at that point the team spirit and mentality paid off.”
The U.S. gave up two soft goals to El Salvador in the 15th and 72nd minutes, and were second best in front of a passionate Salvadorian crowd.
But the U.S. got a lifeline when El Salvador was forced change goalkeepers after starter Miguel Montes went down for the second time with cramps in his legs. Two minutes after reserve goalkeeper Juan Jose Gomez came on, the U.S. got the goal they desperately needed in the 77th minute.
A great ball from Brian Ching found the overlapping Frankie Hejduk and his cross to the far post was met by Jozy Altidore. That goal seemed to deflate El Salvador and the U.S. finally got the goal they deserved when Hejduk met a DaMarcus Beasley corner and header home the equalizer from three yards out.
Overall this was not a vintage performance by team USA, but anyone time you can get a point on the road in World Cup qualifying is a good result. Fifteen points should be enough got the U.S. to qualify for South Africa. A win on Wednesday against T&T will give the U.S. 7 points from three games, almost half the post they need.