Gold Cup: Alvarez cleared to play, eyes rebound vs. Ticos

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — El Salvador international Arturo Alvarez could finally make an appearance in his national team’s starting lineup on Thursday.

After dealing with a nagging muscle strain on his left leg for the past week-and-a-half and working on his own during practices, the Real Salt Lake attacker says he is ready to make his Gold Cup debut. El Salvador will take on Costa Rica on Thursday in the second round of games from Group A (7 pm ET, TeleFutura).

“Yes, I’m back to being part of the 18,” Alvarez said after practice on Wednesday, when los Cuscatlecos worked on the field at the Bank of America Stadium. “I don’t feel any [pain], thank God. I feel very well.”

Ahead of the match against Costa Rica, Alvarez recognizes los Ticos are clear favorites to win the game after thrashing Cuba 5-0 in their opening match. Still, the attacker believes his team has what it takes to win, especially since a victory would keep alive his side’s chances of qualifying for the next round. The key for Alvarez and El Salvador will be aggressiveness.

“Costa Rica comes from getting a great result against Cuba,” he said. “I believe that starting the tournament with such a result will give them confidence, but at the same time, we are here to play this game and win it because we need this result to qualify to the next round.

“We want to come out and play or game. Against Mexico, we played a good first half and we have to learn from that and make it last for 90 minutes. If we play like that and capitalize on our opportunities, we’ll have a chance to win.”