The US men's national team picked up three vital points in Concacaf World Cup Qualifying on Thursday night, beating El Salvador 1-0 at Lower.com Field behind a second-half game-winner from Antonee Robinson.
With the result, the USMNT reach 18 points from nine matches in the Octagonal table as the region's top three teams chase automatic berths to Qatar 2022. Head coach Gregg Berhalter's group still has two more matches remaining in the winter window, at Canada on Jan. 30 and home against Honduras on Feb. 2.
The US had two notable opportunities to open the scoring during the first half, their first coming in the 16th minute through Jesus Ferreira. The FC Dallas forward found space in the box and uncorked a shot from close range, but his left-footed attempt sailed just over the crossbar.
Ferreira then narrowly missed another opener on 19 minutes after reaching a flicked-on header from Timothy Weah at the far post, only to see his attempted volley miss high again.
The scoreless deadlock held through the halftime break, but Robinson found the USMNT's breakthrough in the 52nd minute. The Fulham left back finished off a wild scramble in the box with a close-range laser that snuck under El Salvador goalkeeper Mario González, sending the Columbus crowd into a frenzy.
The US continued to apply pressure, with Yunus Musah and Weston McKennie each narrowly missing a second tally. Musah's goal-bound shot was denied by a spectacular diving save from González, while McKennie had a clean header that he powered just high.
It was a nervy finish, as the Yanks couldn't quite add a second goal despite some more good chances. But the US warded off El Salvador's push for an equalizer and saw out the 1-0 result.
- 52' - USA - Antonee Robinson | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: It was a frustrating first half, and the US will feel like they were wasteful with too many chances, but at this point in Concacaf World Cup Qualifying it's all about procuring three points by any means necessary. That objective was accomplished thanks to Robinson's game-winner, which keeps the Yanks squarely in the mix for an automatic ticket to Qatar 2022 that comes with a top-three finish in the Octagonal. There's still plenty of work to be done, starting with Sunday's massive clash against Canada at Tim Hortons Field.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Robinson's 52nd-minute strike was the decisive tally in this one, with the 24-year-old also providing an acrobatic celebration for the highlight reel.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Robinson has firmly entrenched himself as the USMNT's first-choice left back and his attacking push is a big reason why. The Fulham man gets the honors for this one.
- USA: Sunday, Jan. 30 vs. Canada | 3:05 pm ET (Paramount+, Telemundo, Universo)
- SLV: Sunday, Jan. 30 at Honduras | 7:05 pm ET (Paramount+)