The U.S. men’s national team is scheduled to kick off its World Cup Qualifying schedule on September 2 with a road trip to El Salvador, but travels plans could wind up changing now due to COVID-19 issues in the Central American country.
The El Salvador Ministry of Health is proposing a 90-day plan preventing spectators at outdoor events in hopes of controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the country, an announcement stated Tuesday. Should the plan be approved, the USMNT-El Salvador match would be played behind closed doors in El Salvador, or potentially moved to the United States.
In addition to the USMNT-El Salvador match, La Selecta would also have to face Honduras (September 5) and Panama (October 7) without fans if the proposal were approved. The earliest that El Salvador could play a home qualifying match with fans in San Salvador would be October 13 against Mexico.
El Salvador Federation President Hugo Carrillo confirmed on Tuesday that Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Houston are all possible venues to host El Salvador’s home qualifying matches if fans are not allowed to attend qualifiers in El Salvador.
“Suspend for a term of 90 days from the effective date of this decree, any concentration of people in acts of a public or private nature referred to concerts, rallies, sporting events open to the public or celebrations of patron saint festivities, consequently, is revoked by Ministry of law, any permission to carry out such activities,” read the initiative presented by Minister of Health President Francisco Alabi Tuesday.
El Salvador has been hit hard by COVID-19, seeing 81,644 overall cases occur since the start of 2020, with 2,451 deaths.
El Salvador’s national team is currently at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, coming off a 2-0 group stage win over Guatemala on Sunday. Up next for El Salvador is a showdown with Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday before a group stage finale on Sunday against Mexico.