The United States didn't have the greatest opening round of the Gold Cup ever. That said, the team has gotten through with seven points as the top qualifier, and it will take on El Salvador in what should end up being a relatively easy quarterfinal jaunt.
Don't miss the Gold Cup action from Lincoln Financial Field at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. Catch every moment of the match live on FOX Sports 1.
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The United States doesn't figure to have any problems here. Of all of the matches in the quarterfinals, this is surely the easiest, as El Salvador is the weakest of the eight qualifiers. Should the Yanks get bounced here, it would be a tremendously greater disappointment than they had two years ago when they were beaten by Jamaica in the semifinals of this event in Atlanta.
That said, let's not forget that this still isn't a great American side. There is a lack of talent all over the pitch, and for the most part, the men who are out here are merely vying for reserve roles on the team down the line instead of legitimate starting positions. El Salvador and its top side could put up a fight.
How They Got Here
Bruce Arena was the first to say that the USA was fortunate to get out of the group stage with seven points. A match against Panama that ended in a 1-1 draw easily could have landed in defeat, while the fixture against Martinique was far scarier at 3-2 than it should have been, particularly after the Yanks took a 2-0 lead in the second half.
The United States saved its best 90 minutes for last in Cleveland, though. Joe Corona, Kelyn Rowe and Matt Miazga all found the back of the net in a 3-0 romp over Nicaragua in the last match of Group B to ultimately win the group. That third goal proved crucial, as that was the difference between a quarterfinal match with El Salvador and one with Costa Rica.
El Salvador did as well as could have been expected in Group C. The team never had a shot in San Diego against a Mexico team that was firing on all cylinders. From there, though, La Selecta came up with a 2-2 win over Curacao and a 1-1 draw against Jamaica. The match against the Reggae Boyz could have easily been won in the end, but there's no harm in finishing third in the group and advancing as one of the top third place qualifiers.
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The Americans have called in the reinforcements for the knockout rounds of the Gold Cup as the tournament permits. They've added Tim Howard, Michael Bradley, Darlington Nagbe, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, all five of whom will clearly step into the starting lineup right away for this match.
That should make a world of difference here. El Salvador has no such reserves coming, and it will have to do the best it can with a team that is clearly led by Nelson Bonilla, who has two goals in this tournament already.
But this should end up being a whitewash. The Americans are coming off of their best 90 minutes of the tourney, and bringing in five legitimate starters to this group should provide a tremendous shot in the arm. We can't see anything but a complete and utter destruction here.
Gold Cup Odds: United States 4, El Salvador 0
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