Canada vs. El Salvador
Sunday, Oct. 8 – 5 pm ET
BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas
Bounced from World Cup qualifying late in 2016, Canada have had a solid calendar year, compiling a 4-1-3 overall record and earning a trip to the Gold Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2009. They notched a victory in their last match, beating Jamaica 2-0 in Toronto on September 2 after getting bounced from the Gold Cup by the Reggae Boyz in July.
The match is more than just a test for both teams, too. According to Canada Soccer, a portion of the net proceeds from the game will be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in and around Houston.
Head coach Octavio Zambrano chose to call a relatively untested roster for Sunday’s match, leaving several of Canada’s most experienced internationals with their club teams for the El Salvador contest.
He did bring in eight MLS players for the match, including Montreal midfielder Samuel Piette, Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio, Raheem Edwards and Tosaint Ricketts and Orlando forward Cyle Larin. Impact midfielder Louis Beland-Goyette and NYCFC’s Kwame Awuah are both looking for their first-ever CanMNT cap, and, considering the opponent and the stakes, could very well receive it on Sunday. Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield also received a call for the match.
El Salvador Outlook
After a two-year absence, Arturo Alvarez will make his long-awaited return to the El Salvador national team on Sunday. The Chicago Fire midfielder and Houston native has 43 caps and four goals for El Salvador, but hasn’t played for the country since an October 2015 friendly against Guatemala.
He’s not the only US or Canada-based player on the squad. Several USL and NASL players were called to the team, including former LA Galaxy and current Orange County SC defender Oscar Sorto, New York Cosmos midfielders Andres Flores and Richie Menjivar and FC Edmonton midfielder Dustin Corea. Seventeen-year-old D.C. United academy forward Alexis Cerritos, the son of former MLS striker Ronald Cerritos, was also named to the team.
Sunday’s match will be El Salvador’s first game since they lost 2-0 to the US in the Gold Cup quarterfinals.
Canada holds an 8-5-4 lead in the all-time series between the two sides. Les Rouges won the last match between the two countries, beating El Salvador 3-1 in a World Cup qualifier
Players to Watch
Canada – Cyle Larin
A disappointing summer has turned to an up-and-down fall for the Orlando City striker. The 22-year-old has just four goals since the start of June, and was relegated to a reserve role in each of Orlando’s last two matches. With just two forwards on the Canada roster, Sunday’s match could be a solid chance for Larin to head into the final few weeks of the season on a positive note.
El Salvador – Arturo Alvarez
The Chicago midfielder is back with El Salvador for the first time in two years, and he’s coming into Sunday’s contest in good form. Alvarez has started the last four games for the Chicago Fire, his longest such run since he started the season with four straight starts. He’ll likely play a key role in El Salvador’s midfield on Sunday, and the Houston-native will be motivated to put on a good show in front of his family and friends in Texas.
Goalkeepers (2): Simon Thomas (FK Bodo/Glimt/NOR), Jayson Leutwiler (Blackburn Rovers/ENG)
Defenders (8): Juan Cordova (Huachipato/CHI), Kwame Awuah (New York City FC), Dejan Jakovic (New York Cosmos), Milovan Kapor (Hapoel Hadera FC/ISR), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Louisville City FC), Adam Straith (Sportfreunde Lotte/GER), Steven Vitoria (Lechia Gdansk/POL), Michael Petrasso (Queens Park Rangers/ENG)
Midfielders (11): Samuel Piette (Montreal Impact), Jordan Schweitzer (Orlando City B), Scott Arfield (Burnley/ENG), Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC), Kris Twardek (Millwall FC/ENG), Caniggia Elva (VfB Stuttgart II/GER), Fraser Aird (Dunfermline Athletic/SCO), Raheem Edwards (Toronto FC), Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC), Louis Beland-Goyette (Montreal Impact), Keven Aleman (Saprissa/CRC)
Goalkeepers (2): Derby Carrillo (IBV/ICE), Benji Villalobos (Aguila/SLV)
Defenders (4): Oscar Sorto (Orange County), Fredy Espinoza (Aguila/SLV), Romulo Villalobos (Aguila/SLV), Ronald Rodriguez (Aguila/SLV)
Midfielders (10): Jaime Alas (Municipal/GUA), Andres Flores (New York Cosmos), Arturo Alvarez (Chicago Fire), Richard Menjivar (New York Cosmos), Gerson Mayen (Tapachula/MEX), Pablo Punyed (IBV/ICE), Dustin Corea (FC Edmonton), Junior Burgos (Reno 1868), Victor Garcia (Aguila/SLV), Diego Chavez (Turin FESA/SLV)
Forwards (4): Nelson Bonilla (Oliveirense/POR), Denis Pineda (Santa Clara/POR), Irvin Herrera (New York Cosmos), Alexis Cerritos (D.C. United academy)