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USA rallies for 2-1 victory vs. El Salvador

Jozy Altidore 10 ( 

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The U.S. national team trailed early and were in jeopardy of dropping a decision that could have put a severe dent into its World Cup qualifying hopes.

That was before Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore finished off perfect crosses from Landon Donovan to earn a 2-1 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday night.

Christian Castillo opened the scoring when he converted a Jonathan Bornstein miscue to put El Salvador ahead, but the Americans finally found net after dominating play and creating several chances early on. Clint Dempsey beat an El Salvador offside trap for the equalizer, and Altidore headed home the eventual game-winner just before halftime.

The win moves the United States into second place in CONCACAF qualifying, behind Honduras on goal difference, but the Americans are just one point out of fourth place, meaning they still need a result on Wednesday at Trinidad & Tobago to keep their qualifying run going.

Here are the goal highlights:

What did you think of the U.S. team's victory? Feeling good about the team's chance to qualify? Worried about how the team looked on Saturday? Think the Americans can go to Trinidad and win?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. OK so all of you seem to think that the U.S. should have won 3-1 or even 4-1. But you seem to ignore the fact that the play in which Dempsey scored should have been called offside. I know that Dempsey himself was not offside, but three other players were. This excerpt is from the Referee Week In Review:

    Offside Position
    Active Participation (any of the three below)

    1. Interfering with play = touching the ball
    2. Interfering with an opponent = movement or gesture to impede or distract. Blocking the line of sight of an opponent
    3. Gaining an advantage from the offside position = playing the ball from a
    rebound off a goal post or the crossbar having been in an offside position or
    playing a ball that rebounds off an opponent

    If you look at #2. That is exactly what Bradley did, he was RIGHT NEXT to Dempsey when he scored, running along side and waiting for the ball. This directly interfered with the opponent. Therefore it should have been called offside.

    I am neither from El Salvador or the U.S. , but I have a great appreciation for good soccer. El Salvador played a great game, especially with the odds against them being so high. The U.S. was clearly the better team, but its funny to me how everyone overlooks that Depmsey’s goal should not have been allowed.


    D. Torres

  2. 3 points, that’s all that matters.

    I thought the US had an okay game. That being said, I think El Salvador played well as a visiting team. I don’t think people give El Salvador enough credit. They are one of the few teams in the Hex that have managed to hold their opponents to a 1 goal difference. I dunno why people expect them to get destroyed..when they haven’t this round.

    On to the officiating, I agree that FIFA should not have 4 refs from Honduras in a game like this. I mean, they are tied with the US in points. I think there was some Bias there. Maybe use refs from teams that are eliminated, Jamaica, Canada, Guatemala, etc…

    I hope Castillo will be given a shot at left back in the near future, seeing as how that position has yet to really be filled by anyone. And is a weak point in the lineup.

    The subs used. Holden, has impressed every chance he has been given, great crosses! He connected well with Torres, and if it weren’t for El Salvador’s keeper, he would have a great goal under his belt. This kid needs more playing time. As for Beckerman, I think he is a good player, but is not ready for this level. He needs a few more camps and some time on the bench.

  3. Does anyone find it disappointing that we couldn’t even sell out 20K seat Rio Tinto Stadium? If it wasn’t for the ES fans, there may have only been 10K there. Sad. They should have played this one in Seattle or Portland.

  4. Bullet points days later –
    -Too bad Torres did get his goal, would have been a nice confidence boost for him and perhaps for Bradley, the Elder.
    -Glad for the 3. Definitely if/when they qualify it will be hard earned.
    -Some one needs to figure out how to integrate this team.(BRADLEY, hello?) the Euros seems to want the MLS’ers to do one thing when they’re doing another. and even within the Euro’s there are different styles and philosophies trying to blend.
    -Players like Feilhaber and Bradley seem too deferential. they need to assert themselves on the game on the team. Davies and now Altidore have finally stepped up to that end, now it’s time for each player to take on more individual responsibility.
    – I think the Euros have an advantage in that dept – look how long its taken Donovan – but the MLS’rs have no excuse for not seizing their opportunities.
    -love/hate Dempsey. HATE/LOVE Dempsey. Most frustrating player on the pitch. 1 minute you want to strangle him, the next kiss his boots. Probably shouldn’t be a starter, but who would replace him?
    -DEPTH IS A MAJOR CONCERN!!! we used to have the luxury of bringing in a Davies or Altidore, but now that they are starters, who the hell will bring the Sniper mentality when we’re playing a goal down in the 75th minute????

  5. harry-The players you are championing against their evil MLS counterparts are not exactly a list of all- stars.

    Torres, Demerit and Spector are all getting their shots

    Orozco seems to have been tarred by that terrible red card he got at the Olympics and he also is primarily a centerback, the single deepest position next to goal keeper on the US team.

    Here is Jemal Johnson’s pro record:

    2004–2006 Blackburn Rovers 06 0(0)

    2005 Preston North End (loan)03 0(1)

    2006 Darlington (loan) 09 0(3)

    2006–2007 Wolverhampton Wanderers 20 0(3)

    2007 Leeds United (loan) 05 0(0)

    2007– → → Milton Keynes Dons 78 (11)

    In my book this reads like a journeyman’s record.

    This is Giovanni’s Dos Santos’ record:

    2006–2007 FC Barcelona B 026 0(6)

    2007–2008 FC Barcelona 028 0(3)

    2008–2009 Tottenham Hotspur 006 0(0)

    → Ipswich Town (loan) 008 0(4)

    Sorry but Dos Santos’ record looks a lot more impressive. Johnson’s teams are hardly top flight teams. But then neither was Hammarby but Davies was scoring a lot for them. 11 goals in 78 games for MKD is not outstanding. So I can see why Davies got more attention. As for Ching having to be hurt before Davies could play, how do you know that? What makes you think Bradley wasn’t going to pair up Davies and Altidore in Africa anyway? You always have 20/ 20 hindsight harry. Personally, I was surprised by how good Davies looked and continues to look. Whitbread has been hurt a lot since 2006 and again, plays centerback primarily, a US strength.

    Jeremiah White:

    Years Club App (Gls)*

    2004OFK Beograd 20 (12)

    2004-2005Panserraikos 25 0(9)

    2005-2007FC Gueugnon 77 0(7)

    2007- AGF

    is another journeyman type and the 2007-08 season was the first time White has ever played top-flight professional football. Your list of players is hardly the basis of a World Cup squad. You seem to think that if an American simply signs for a foreign team then he is instantly a world beater. This is simply ludicrous and betrays your pernicous hatred of ….something.

  6. “Can someone explain Dempsey who blew so many opportunites but somehow manages to get a goal right before we are ready to send him out to pasture for good.-Gideon Davis”

    Mr. Davis- In football it is very difficult to score goals. It is even more difficult to score meaningful goals. If you look at Dempsey’s performance for the US recently

    you will see that he gets more than his share. It is true, he seems to miss a lot of opportunities he maybe should have put in but I promise you it is a testament to his skill that he is even in a position to miss. In other words, Dempsey is there to make a difference, something very few players are capable of on a consistent basis. Most bloggers here will tell you they could have made those chances but that’s just wishful thinking.

    By the way, his goal was what you could call a discretionary goal. The offside rule states :

    Commiting an Offside Offence

    A player in an offside position is only penalised if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is, in the opinion of the referee, involved in active play by:

    interfering with play

    interfering with an opponent

    gaining an advantage by being in that position

    Clearly the ref felt the other US players, who might have been offside, did not interfere with the play. I did not see any of them harassing the goal keeper so it was a good call. Oh and while he can’t exactly be blamed, I think Howard has not been playing that well for the US lately.

  7. AGAIN. Except for one comment, Timmy’s getting little or no criticism. Brad or Keller would have chest-trapped that shot that ElSalv scored on. Dude is constantly out of position but can usually make up for it with his sick athleticism.

    Timmy’s getting a pass.

    Until with see what Jones can do, Junior’s a lock in mid. Benny should be there with him.

    Davies is the man.

  8. Is there anyone playing with more confidence than Charlie Davies right now? It’s crazy…even though they are different players, it reminds me of the run Clint Mathis was on before he blew out his knee in 2001. Davies is making something happen in every game he plays, it seems, for both club and country.

    possessing the ball has been a problem for the US for ages, ever since I started watching seriously 15 years ago. The talent level is so much better now, but the issue persists, even with a bunch of guys who play in Europe. A bit of a head-scratcher.

    I agree with the posters who point out that Michael Bradley is sort of a ‘tweener which creates problems with the center mid pairings for the US, but he is a guaranteed starter, so no use complaining about that…This team has to do a lot better than they showed against ES…at least a point against T and T is crucial, though a win would likely mean that we won’t go into the CR game needing a win to go to SA.

    I seem to remember the 2002 campaign coming down to the last game in the hex against Jamaica, so we’ve been down this road before, as much as it stinks.

  9. MArshall: Has to go! This man created too many fouls within 40yds. Kicked the ball as far as he could every single time, no confidence with his footwork, doesn’t belong in the U.S team!

    Bornestein: Sorry, but the kid has to mature a bit more! Doesn’t belong in the U.S team.

    Beckerman: Is BB freaking high on LSD??!! This guy here belongs in a misfit concert and not on a USMNT team! This guys was slow and made too many damn mistakes! Utah really showed yesterday that they don’t know anything about soocer!! Fans were all cheering Beckerman when he entered the game like if he were our Messi! This is for 3 important points!!

    Altifore & Davies! The best combo in Concacaf!!PURE FACT! Someone here said Gio dos santos is better than any of our young US players?!!lol Gio had 2 good games in the Gold cup and 1 good game in the hex, now all of a sudden we have Americans here sucking this kids ass for his performace in the hex against CR?!lol Davies & Altidore have been doing great things in Europe and in international level play! They have played better oponents in their careers than this Gio has in life! What has Gio done in Europe besides warming the reserve bench?lol If Adu would be given a chance to play with the big boys in the USMNT I guarantee he performance just as much as Altidore & Davies!

  10. Bradley doesn’t need to be benched, only Borstein Beckerman didn’t belong on the field.

    Aside from the reffing the most disappointing aspect of the game was that it wasn’t sold out. I think we can take Chicago and SLC off the list of cities that should get qualifiers. I thought the crowd was about 65-35 US. I am assuming DC will mae a better showing in what will likely be a huge game.

  11. PS – bench Dempsey unless he learns to track back . He doesn’t pull that lazy crap at Fulham and I think it is because he fears nothing in terms of benching from BB.

  12. We better win win vs. T&T or it will come to a final show down with a fading CR at home.

    It is really that simple.

    By the way- Mexico looked awsome vs. CR.

  13. All the above lineups have some definite advantages offensively without worsening the defense. I personally prefer Spector to Cherundalo assuming BB insists on playing his captain preferably at LB rather than CB. Still think Boca is an upgrade from Pearce or Bornstein. He won’t overlap but he will defend and he’s an extra presence on set pieces and he’ll hit the long diagonal ball (it’s not like Pearce or Bornstein burned up the flanks and sent in wonderful crosses). Would like to see Castillo play, hopefully in a friendly. Heard he is speedy and offensive minded but I’m not one to subscribe to the Beasley left back school of defense. I would like to see Spector on the left esp. since he has played there in EPL but I wonder what that does to his crossing. Admittedly Spector had a crappy game against El Sal but his performance at Confeds suggests he should be in the lineup and frankly I’d rather see a good big man than a good little man on defense. I’m OK with Cherundolo, just would rather not see Spector on the bench if he’s healthy

  14. I think our forward and midfield lines played very well, with the exception of Michael Bradley. He’s going through a rough period, but he’s too important to sit on the bench…

    Feilhaber is a starter in the center, period. He is so similar to Claudio in my opinion. He facilitates the entire offense w/ his vision, and quick play. Every possession is 1 or 2 touches, until he’s in the final 3rd. He gets it.

    What to do at Left Back???? I agree Bornstein was not good, too many BAD turnovers; But, if the choice is between he and Boca, I take him. He’s a better 1v1 defender, and he gets forward into the offense. Boca adds zero offense on the flank, and he is a liability on an island against a faster player. Castillo or Spector are gonna have to take the spot, but I hope Spector stays on the right. I hope Castillo get here soon, and gets acclimated

  15. ————–Altidore—-Davies———–







    that’s how it should be

  16. Here’s the line up for the future.

    ————— Howard ————–

    — Spector Demerit Onyewu Castillo —

    —- Donovan Jones Torres Dempsey —

    ———- Altidore Davies ———-


    1. It’s of course hard to imagine Bob Bradley putting his current captain on the bench.

    2. As observed by others, Michael Bradley is *very* good — but is neither a proper defensive midfielder nor a proper offensive midfielder.

    3. Will Bob Bradley ever bench his son?

    4. Jermaine Jones is flat out better than Michael Bradley.

    5. Bradley does not cut it as an offensive central midfielder at an international level. We need someone like Feilhaber or Torres to settle the play in ways Michael simply cannot.

    6. The arrival of Jermaine Jones will be perhaps the biggest test of Bob Bradley — and by extension of Sunil Gulati’s decision to make Bradley the coach.

  17. Gideon, I’m not a Dempsey apologist but he scores so he has to play. Opportunistic box player, good in small spaces, getting a shot off or getting his head on the ball. Takes skill/instinct whatever to even get the chances and even the best miss. He did look like crap finishing the breakaway. I think he was gassed which is not the best excuse. On my DVR I slo-mo’ed the missed header and I thought it nicked off Michael Bradley first changing the flight slightly but I could be wrong.We have to find a way to keep him on the field and I still think striker with Davies coming off the bench for either Dempsey or Altidore with Davies’ blinding speed running at defenders with their tongues hanging out late in the game. If Davies keeps improving, particularly his tactical awareness, I could change my opinion. Isaac intriguingly raised the possibility of Davies on the wing. Poses other issues but another way to get an in form player on the field. Doubt BB would undertake that sort of experiment especially at this late date.

  18. Isaac,I like alot of what you’re saying. It’s funny when you enter the realm of the speculative. There’s what you want to see and there’s what’s likely recognizing BB’s patterns. Fact is we’re stuck with him through this cycle and that means we’ll see Michael no matter what (not that I think he’s a bad player but it’s like dominoes) and Bocanegra somewhere (I personally prefer LB to CB) and it’s unlikely we’ll see Dempsey as withdrawn striker or CAM behind 2 strikers. I think we’ll be going 4-4-2 pretty much all the way so I suspect some of the dominoes are limited. My combination of possible and desirable would be:

    Holden —Bradley—Feilhaber–Donovan


    Also, unfortunately, I think both BB and Michael want Michael to go forward more than maybe he should because Benny is the guy who can pull the strings. Michael does have some offensive capability and Benny does have some defensive bite but they have to coordinate. Also if Jones turns out to be great it will probably be Jones and Bradley because I don’t think Michael will sit under the present regime.

  19. This US team is taking years off my life. If I see Bob and the boys spend one more minute where they get up a goal, stuffing the entire team in front of Howard and hoping that the other team doesnt score, I might retire forever from watching another US game. Positive to see Charlie Davies creating opportunities, Landon’s brilliant services, Altidore’s finished and Howard saving our butts in the final minutes of the game. Can someone explain Dempsey who blew so many opportunites but somehow manages to get a goal right before we are ready to send him out to pasture for good.

  20. This would be sort of cool:







    It could be Spector or Cherundolo out on that flank; it’s a toss up for me because Spector’s bad play seemed to be based more on the back line as a whole not being that great. As soon as DeMerit and Onyewu get back I feel that he’ll be a LOT better. We could also see things like this















  21. I was at the game… couldn’t believe how gassed the players on both side looked beginning in the first half. Maybe it was the altitude, maybe it was because it was my first USMNT game live. Too bad the altitude can’t be blamed on Bornstein’s suckitude. Dude needs to be hanging with Demarcus Beasley on USMNT game days watching the games from a sports bar.

    The bunker down mentality worked, but we could have lost two points. WTF Bradley? Why not get another goal and then bunker down? Goal differential matters, too!

    It’ll be nice to have Gooch and Demerit back in the middle and Spector on the right.

  22. Did anyone notice the play where the El Sal player basically clotheslined I think it was Feilhaber and didn’t get a card (although a foul was called) or the play near the US box where the ref screened off I think Bradley and almost put the El Sal player in alone. Hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic.

  23. The first goal was not offside. When the ball was played El Salvador tried a commonly used offside trap. They caught 3 players offside but Dempsey was even with his man. If any of those players had tried to play the ball, the play goes dead.


    FALSE!!!!! All 3 were a part of the play, the arbitro is not a mind reader trying to guess which one the balon was played towards, dumkopf. The ruling is OFFSIDE (by a country mile, bumpkin) T & T will hammer this side at the midweek, bet on it.

  24. I think Donavan and Davis connected well for some dangerous play on the left and Altidore and Dempsey did well to get into position for their crosses. Dempsey needs to finish better but he had more chances than I’ve see in a while and that doesn’t happen by being lazy. As far as the English press requiring finishing in WQS’s, I guess they are killing Rooney now for all his misses yesterday. I think his dive was even worse so they will use all their ink defnding him rather than attacking his poor play.

  25. Cenote-
    Agree on Holden or Torres. I do think at an international level that Donovan better serves the team as a flank player. He has tremendous pace almost as much with the ball as without but he is better on a straight run than running in the more congested middle. Although he is a slasher and has a reasonable eye for the quick pass, I don’t think he can “pull the strings” in the middle of the field. He has tremendous aerobic capacity and if he buys into helping out on defense as he did at Confeds then I couldn’t ask for any more

  26. The formation we used against ES will work as long as we find a defensive midfielder who isnt trying to score goals. We need a player who can read the game and close the passing lanes. The way we played defensively in the middle showed why BB plays Clark and MB. he knows that MB is not an adequate defensive player in the middle. Clark was supposed to cover those deficiencies. Benny was forced to do that on Saturday. Again the big question. when Edu and Jones are fit and ready will they get a fair chance to challenge for the position?
    This is the most serious question facing the team heading into the final games of WQ and will dog the team as it prepares for next summer. This forum is a great place for this lively debate. I can’t wait.

  27. Len —

    I agree on this — Dempsey on the wing is killing us defensively and possession-wise. Of course, Donovan playing on the wing creates the same problem. They are both natural central attacking players. And Dempsey looks like he needs a month’s rest, which he won’t get before SA 2010 unfortunately, unless he’s injured. I’d rather start Davies and donovan up top, with Torres and Holden outside, but we are thinking the same general way.

  28. Lot of good comments. Still think Dempsey should be up top with Altidore. You can’t ignore somebody who scores goals but has a hard time running the wing defensively. Having said that, Davies has really come on nicely and he certainly looks like a reasonable strike paartner for Altidore. I personally would rather see Demps/Altidore, thereby allowing Holden on the wing as a more clearcut winger with Davies coming on at 65 or 70 minutes to run at tiring defenders.

  29. Sampson – The first goal was not offside. When the ball was played El Salvador tried a commonly used offside trap. They caught 3 players offside but Dempsey was even with his man. If any of those players had tried to play the ball, the play goes dead. However, they all knew they had been caught offside and stood their ground. Linesman sees this and doesn’t flag.

    As for the stoppage time, there were 2 goals scored to that point, with celebrations for each one. Added time is for injuries and stoppages for goals. 2 goals = 2 minutes. There is no “standard”, the events of the game dictate.

    Onto the more general topic:

    We got the 3 points. We are in the 2nd spot with 2 of our 3 toughest tests behind us (@ Costa Rica, @ Mexico) as well as two of our most tricky home tests (vs Honduras, vs Mexico). With 3 games to go 6 points should be enough to secure our spot, and I think that is well within our grasp.

    I couldn’t care less about “pretty” victories at this point. Qualification is the only objective. Besides, it isn’t as if we were stifled for 90 minutes. We created loads of quality chances.

    Drop the expectations and just ride the wave. You’ll just be angry with yourself if you don’t enjoy the ride.

  30. “And where did the extra 2 minutes come from at the end of the 1st half?”

    From the El Sal goalie rolling around on the ground feigning injury for 2 minutes?

    That would be the FIRST place I looked.


  31. Hopefully Bob tinkers with that left back position and can figure it out before we enter the cauldron that awaits us in Honduras.

    Posted by: Fireman451

    What about the difficult atmosphere that awaits in Port-of-Spain? If you think we are just going to show-up and get 3 pts, you are sadly mistaken. Even with Gooch back and JayD still out, it will be a miracle to even get a point away right now.

    I don’t know what was worse, the shocking non offside call on our 1st goal (3 players in offside position, ball crossed by Mandon right to them, it’s not a passive offside position) or John Harkes once again misleading the viewing public with his asinine comments that it was regular. And where did the extra 2 minutes come from at the end of the 1st half? 1 minute is standard in international football.

    T & T 2:1 US

  32. @ Chupa? what gives? Not all of the Gold Cup guys deserved to be banished for a collective 5-0 humiliation. The GER team that lost to ENG at home, in Munich in a WCQ in Sept 01 (5-1) went on to the final 9 months later. Other examples abound in all sports….

    Marshall, Holden, and Rodgers will all get looks going forward (SA 2010, definietly next cycle) b/c they are good players. Cooper may pan out thou’ he’s biggest problem is that he is IMHO selfish..hard to change that. Maybe Sacha…But I agree that 3 or 4 guys did NOT pan out at Gold Cup…Heaps, Beckerman, and, for good measure b/c he’s rubbish and has been give 3 years to get it 2gether…Bornstein.

  33. @Jeff,

    I agree. We need Holden, Rogers, Wynne, Marshall, Bornstein, Kljestan all playing abroad preferably the Dutch and French leagues.

    And of course tons of younger guys that need to get their chances. cap them in B friendlies.

  34. I do not want to see any of the US players who were involved in US/Mexico Gold Cup final ever again. That means Marshall, Holden (yes, Holden who is aggressive in MLS but meek in internationals), and especially Beckerman. No Robbie Rogers either. Ching can bite me. Cooper is crappier. These guys are like a disease.

  35. As for capping MLS guys, we gotta keep doing it to get them out of the MLS. Most better Euro leagues have rules about who can enter as a non-EU player. Cap and cap again when we play Sweden in Jan (seems like every year, yeah?) and lo-level friendlies….get guys noticed for export BUT money games like WCQs and the coming 2011 Gold Cup have to be qulaity guys, no export prep…In this past year, Bob is violating the export rule with Jonny B and was smart enuff to drop Sacha K (funny both Chivas boys, eh?) before the problem got to big.


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