HOUSTON – In front of a sea of pro-El Salvador sellout crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium, a stoppage-time Dustin Corea goal salvaged a point for El Salvador in a dramatic finish as they tied Costa Rica 1-1 on Saturday night.
Corea blitzed through the Costa Rican defense on a set piece and volleyed home an Arturo Alvarez free kick as the teams shared the spoils. El Salvador and Costa Rica are now tied for second place on two points in group B, two behind pace-setters Jamaica.
El Salvador will wrap up group play on Tuesday against Jamaica, while Costa Rica face Canada in the second match of a BMO Field doubleheader in Toronto.
Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz broke the hour-long deadlock with an expert finish in the 61st minute. Alvaro Saborio played him to the end line with a ball over the top. The EPL veteran measured his chance and beat goalkeeper Derby Carrillo through a slim gap at the near post.
The two teams played a lively first half with plenty of chances. El Salvador matched the favored ticos with four shots in a wide-open 45 minutes and they would go on to outshoot their opponents by the end of the night (10-9).
But El Salvador's best looks came after Costa Rica took the lead. First, Alexander Larin laced a 30-yard shot in the 66th minute that goalkeeper Esteban struggled to handle. The shot dipped from distance prompting a spill from the ‘keeper, but no harm came from it.
A minute later El Salvador's Darwin Ceren fired off a corner kick volley. Free of a mark, the Orlando City midfielder first-timed the set piece, but couldn’t keep his effort down.
Corea's shot in the 92nd minute wouldn't meet the same fate as El Salvador are now in contention for the top spot in Group B thanks to his stoppage-time equalizer.