The US men's national team kicked off their Octagonal campaign in Concacaf World Cup Qualifying by splitting the points in a 0-0 draw against El Salvador at Estadio Cuscatlán on Thursday evening.
In front of a raucous home crowd in San Salvador that provided an electric atmosphere throughout the night, neither side could find a go-ahead goal that would have delivered all three points, with the Yanks instead settling for a road point ahead of their home match against Canada on Sunday.
The US had perhaps the first half's best look for either side inside 10 minutes when Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson got free in front of goal and rose up to meet a pinpoint free kick from Gio Reyna, only to see his header go just high.
El Salvador had two good chances of their own, first in the 16th minute from a Ronald Rodriguez header off a corner kick that went just inches high. Alex Roldan also had a good look for El Salvador in the 33rd minute, but the Seattle Sounders defender put a cheeky chipped attempt from inside the area just high of US goalkeeper Matt Turner at the far post.
There were more half-chances in the second half for both teams, but none that resulted in the opener. The US had arguably their last best chance in the 76th minute off a lofted cross from Weston McKennie from the right side that found substitute Kellyn Acosta at the far post. The Colorado Rapids midfielder got his header on target but saw it denied by a sprawling save from El Salvador goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez.
McKennie also had a chance of his own just a few minutes before that, but the Juventus midfielder couldn't quite put his header off a cross from Reyna on target, with neither side ultimately finding the breakthrough.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Concacaf World Cup Qualifying road games can often be like pulling teeth, as this young US group found out at Estadio Cuscatlán. The away point isn’t a bad result for the US, but it does ramp up the pressure a bit heading into the Canada match. They'll certainly need to be more dangerous going forward than they were in this one.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The match marked a great moment for the Seattle Sounders sibling duo of Cristian and Alex Roldan, who faced off on the same field at the international level for the first time when Cristian entered as a second-half substitute. They went toe-to-toe several times, capping off a whirlwind stretch that saw them both also feature in the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Aug. 25.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Gio Reyna was central to the USMNT's most dangerous looks, and he just missed getting an assist on McKennie’s second-half header.
- SLV: Sunday, September 5 vs. Honduras | 7 pm ET (Paramount+)
- USA: Sunday, September 5 vs. Canada | 8 pm ET (FS1, UniMás, TUDN)