NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Canada and El Salvador kicked off the CONCACAF men's Olympic qualifying tournament on Thursday night, but the score line at the end of the 90 minutes was the same as when it started in a 0-0 draw at LP Field.
Neither side created any serious scoring opportunities over the 90 minutes, but if anything, it was the Central Americans who came away with the better chances.
Eleven minutes into the game, El Salvador midfielder Jaime Alas beat a Canadian offside trap on the left hand side before his cross found forward Isidro Gutiérrez with space on the right. Canadian goalkeeper Michal Misiewicz reacted well to come off his line to block Gutiérrez’s shot with his right hand.
The ball fell back to the Salvadoran striker, but his shot on the follow-up went wide for a goal kick.
Misiewicz was sharp again in the 20th minute as once again he was forced to be sharp off his line. With the Canadians wanting a free kick on an earlier play, midfielder Andrés Flores was played through the Canadian back line, but Misiewicz was out to put the shot out for a corner kick.
Despite holding onto spells of possession, Canada showed little in breaking down El Salvador’s back line. In the 30th minute, however, striker Carl Haworth fed a pass between two defenders to midfielder Shaun Saiko, who had made a well-timed run into the box but sent his shot high over the bar.
El Salvador were easily the better of the teams to start the second half, but had issues finishing. In the 60th minute, Alas outdistanced Canadian right back Matt Stinson before crossing to Gutiérrez, who laid the ball back to Flores but his shot was deflected over the bar.
As the game wound down, Canada put together some nice passing to get deep into the El Salvador half, but failed to trouble Yimy Cuellar in the Salvadoran goal.
Canada next face the heavily favored United States on Saturday, while El Salvador face Cuba.
Canada: Michal Misiewicz; Russell Teibert, Nana Attakora, Drew Beckie, Matt Stinson; Kyle Bekker, Bryce Alderson (Phillipe Davies, 75'), Shaun Saiko (Randy Edwini-Bonsu, 54'); Marcus Haber, Carl Haworth, Evan James (Sherif El-Masri, 60')
El Salvador: Yimy Cuellar; Milton Molina, Xavier García, Alexander Mendoza, Elman Rivas (Darwin Ceren, 46'); Isidro Gutiérrez (Dustin Corea, 62'), Jaime Alas, Alexander Larín, Richard Menjivar; Lester Blanco (Jonathan Aguila, '71), Andrés Flores