Photo credit: US Soccer
Sixteen months ago, the El Salvador U-23 team tied Team USA 3-3 in Olympic qualifying and in so doing eliminated one of the more talented U23-level squad the Americans have had in at least two cycles. Last night that fateful game was avenged by three special players: Brek Shea, Joe Corona and Mix Diskerud, as the United States routed El Salvador by 5-1.
Another special statement was sent out by Landon Donovan, who proved once again why he is the best soccer player this nation has ever had. Another goal and another 4 assists for the US number 10. Not bad. And now we can assume that he will start alongside Dempsey, Altidore, Bradley and the rest of the gang come September's meeting with Mexico in Columbus for World Cup Qualifying.
Overall we have to credit the midfield for yesterday's win, as well as the constant forays by Michael Parkhurst and good positioning for Goodson on his goal. Still, Beasley was at fault for the Salvadoran PK and Goodson, despite the goal, was at times slow to react. At forward Wondolowski lacked the "nastiness" needed to score but this was ameliorated by Eddie Johnson within 14 seconds of the Seattle Sounders' forward entrance to the game.
Joe Corona and Mix Diskerud were especially impressive throughout the match. They rarely lost the ball and constantly set up dangerous plays. Add to this a goal a piece and we can credit a nearly-perfect game by the two midfielders. They are quickly rising to the top of the pecking order in the senior "A" squad when injuries occur to usual starters like Bradley or Jermaine Jones. At their young age, we can definitely count on them for some time to come, especially given their willingness to learn defensive duties.
Subs: Johnson (7.5), Orozco (NR), Shea (6)