Mon, 02 Oct 2023

Ricardo Pepi's goal lifts USMNT over El Salvador

Field Level Media
28 Mar 2023, 11:55 GMT+10

Ricardo Pepi provided instant offense off the bench to provide the lone score as the U.S. men's national team continued its domination vs. El Salvador with a 1-0 victory in Orlando, Fla., on Monday to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League.

Pepi, who scored twice in 7-1 win at Grenada on Friday, entered in the 60th minute and put the U.S. ahead two minutes later.

With Pepi's six goals in 14 international matches, only Christian Pulisic (18 years, 263 days) and Jozy Altidore (19 years, 146 days) reached six goals for the USMNT at a younger age than Pepi (20 years, 77 days).

Pepi was denied another goal when Mario Gonzalez made a point-blank save in the 85th minute.

The Americans finished atop the League A, Group D standings (3-0-1, 10 points) ahead of El Salvador (1-1-2, 5 points). By finishing in the top two of the group, each qualified for the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer.

The USMNT will defend its Nations League championship of the inaugural tourney in 2021 when it plays a semifinal on June 15 in Las Vegas with the final three days later.

Coming off the win vs. Grenada, the U.S. needed only a draw to reach the semifinals. El Salvador had to win and came out with a flurry and nearly took the lead in the 2nd minute when Jairo Henriquez fired a shot that went just outside the right post.

The U.S., with eight lineup changes from Friday, had 58 percent possession in the first half but was sloppy in the final third. It was more determined to start the second half and Gio Reyna sent a shot off the left post in the first minute.

The 22-match unbeaten streak (17 wins, five ties) vs. El Salvador since 1992 is the longest ever for the U.S. against any team, bettering the 21-game stretch vs. Guatemala from 1988-2015.

The U.S. is 20-1-7 all-time against El Salvador, including 17-0-2 in home games with 16 straight wins.

--Field Level Media

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