El Salvador vs. Curacao
2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup – Group C, Matchday 2
Sports Authority Field – Denver, Colorado
Thursday, July 13 – 8 pm ET
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After being soundly beaten in their opening matches of the Gold Cup, El Salvador and Curaçao will look to pick themselves up and keep their knockout round hopes alive in the first game of a Denver doubleheader Thursday night.
El Salvador showed flashes of brilliance in the opening moments of their eventual 3-1 loss to Mexico, and showed great character to hit El Tri right back after conceding the opening goal. Ultimately, though, they were undone by Mexico’s superior quality and a shaky left flank.
Curaçao, for their part, managed to test Jamaica 'keeper Andre Blake six times in their 2-0 loss to the Reggae Boyz. This time around, against a team that does not feature the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, the islanders will fancy their chances of netting the first Gold Cup tally in their country’s history.
The match will also go a long way toward determining who follows likely group winners Mexico out of Group C. A win here for El Salvador would put them in with a shout for their group finale against Jamaica, while a win for Curacao would at least give them a sliver of hope before taking on Mexico.
Los Cuscatlecos may have fallen in their tournament opener, but their quest for redemption is still very much alive.
Redemption for the loss? Not quite. Rather, El Salvador are still on the road to recovery from a match-fixing scandal that rocked the nation in 2013. Though the dust has started to settle, and certain players involved in the scandal have returned to the fold, the incident still looms large over the team, who are working to win back the trust and support of their fans, as detailed by Goal.com's Jon Arnold.
"It was really hard, truly, because they’re situations that can’t happen in a national team. For me, it’s something that shouldn’t have happened. It was a really difficult period," El Salvador captain and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Darwin Ceren told Arnold. "But now, I also respect the decisions the manager makes, as he’s the one who makes the decisions.
"Now we’re on the field and we hope things go well for us. We’re also alert, we’re waiting to be together and we’re working to be more transparent which is needed for the good of the sport. We’re working hard, trusting our teammates, trusting that things are going to go well so we might be able to recover once and for all from this black mark on the national team. We hope things already have gotten better and that we can win something important in this tournament to help our fans believe in us again."
EL SALVADOR 23-PLAYER SQUAD
Goalkeepers (3): Oscar Arroyo (Alianza FC / SLV), Derby Carrillo (Íþróttabandalag Vestmannaeyja / ISL), Benji Villalobos (CD Aguila / SLV)
Defenders (6): Alexander Larin (Alianza FC / SLV), Ivan Mancia (Alianza FC / SLV), Ruben Marroquin (Alianza FC / SLV), Milton Molina (AD Isidro Metapan / SLV), Henry Romero (Alianza FC / SLV), Bryan Tamacas (Santa Tecla FC / SLV)
Midfielders (10): Efrain Burgos (Reno 1868 FC / USA), Darwin Ceren (San Jose Earthquakes / USA), Oscar Ceren (Alianza FC / SLV), Roberto Dominguez (Santa Tecla FC / SLV), Andres Flores (New York Cosmos / USA), Victor Garcia (CD Aguila / SLV), Gerson Mayen (Santa Tecla FC / SLV), Richard Menjivar (New York Cosmos / USA), Narciso Orellana (Alianza FC / SLV), Denis Pineda (CD Santa Clara / POR)
Forwards (4): Harold Alas (Santa Tecla FC / SLV), Nelson Bonilla (CD Nacional / POR), Irvin Herrera (New York Cosmos / USA), Rodolfo Zelaya (Alianza FC / SLV)
Manager: Eduardo Lara (Colombia)
Curaçao, nestled along the South American coast, shocked many observers in the region when they topped Jamaica to win the 2017 Caribbean Cup in June. And while the memory of a historic cup win will not soon fade, the team was quickly brought back down to earth in the tournament opener.
Making a potential turnaround harder for the Dutch islanders is the loss of star defender Cuco Martina. It was reported ahead of the Jamaica game that the Southampton right back would leave the squad after the tournament opener to complete a club move, ostensibly within the EPL to rejoin former manager Ronald Koeman at Everton. Curaçao media showed a video of Martina bidding goodbye to his international teammates on Monday:
Forward Felitciano Zschusschen is also reportedly leaving the squad to complete a club move of his own.
Nonetheless, Curaçao must regroup and find the back of the net in order to have any chance of shocking CONCACAF once again and advancing to the group stage. They showed plenty of attacking mettle in their loss to Jamaica, but now one of their remaining forwards – likely the towering Rangelo Janga – must turn that mettle into something more concrete.
CURAÇAO 23-PLAYER SQUAD
Goalkeepers (3): Jairzinho Pieter (RKSV Centro Dominguito, CUW); Eloy Room (SBV Vitesse, NED); Rowendy Sumter (RKSV Scherpenheuvel, CUW)
Defenders (9): Shanon Carmelia (Ijsselmeervogels, NED); Jurien Gaari (Kozakken Boys, NED); Quentin Jakoba (Kozakken Boys, NED); Gillian Justiana (Helmond Sport, NED); Doriano Kortstam (Achilles '29, NED); Darryl Lachman (Willem II, NED); Cuco Martina (Unattached); Dustley Mulder (FC Eindhoven, NED); Ayrton Statie (FC Oss, NED)
Midfielders (4): Kemy Agustien (Global Cebu FC, PHI); Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa FC, ENG); Ashar Bernardus (RKSV Centro Dominguito, CUW); Michaël Maria (SG Sonnenhof Großaspach, GER)
Forwards (7): Jarchino Antonia (Go Ahead Eagles, NED); Elson Hooi (Vendsyssel FF, DEN); Rangelo Janga (AS Trenčín, SVK); Quenten Martinus (Yokohama F. Marinos, JAP); Gevaro Nepomuceno (FC Famalicão, POR); Gino van Kessel (Lechia Gdańsk, POL); Felitciano Zschusschen (FC Saarbrücken, GER)
Manager: Remko Bicentini (Netherlands)