Gold Cup: Alvarez, El Salvador must now play waiting game
CHICAGO – El Salvador turned in their best performance of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday, trouncing Cuba 6-1 at Soldier Field in their last Group A match.
While the victory was decisive, los Cuscatlecos don’t yet know if they’ll advance to the tournament’s knockout rounds.
"I think we came here and did our job,” said El Salvador and Real Salt Lake midfielder Arturo Alvarez, who scored his team’s fifth goal. “We wanted to beat Cuba first of all, and if we can beat Cuba with a lot of goals we were going to welcome that. Obviously we did that and hopefully the results go our way.”
The Salvadorans finished group play with four points, good enough for third place in Group A as they trail Costa Rica on goal difference.
They’ll advance to the quarterfinals if they end the group stages as one of the top-two third-place teams – something they won’t know until Group C wraps up on Tuesday night.
“It sucks [not knowing],” Alvarez said. “Obviously it hurt to give away the three points against Costa Rica in the last minute [on Thursday], but that’s the way it goes sometimes in soccer."
Alvarez’s attitude was a bit different concerning his goal. The second-half substitute scored in the 84th minute, exchanging passes with midfielder Eliseo Quintanilla on the left side of the box before firing a left footed shot inside the far post from an incredibly tight angle.
“It was a good play between me and Eliseo,” Alvarez said. “It was a nice give-and-go and I just kind of was running out of angle, and I just decided to blast it and it went in. It was good finish and it feels good to score.”
The goal was Alvarez’s first with the national team.
“It felt amazing,” he said. “It’s something that I’ve been looking for for a while. I’ve had really bad luck. I’ve had chances and I knew that it was going to come sooner or later, and I’m glad it did.”