World Cup 2010 Qualifier: USA vs. El Salvador

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The United States men’s national soccer team is in Utah tonight for the World Cup qualifying match against El Salvador. Both sides are coming from a defeat, the Yanks from Mexico and La Selecta from Trinidad and Tobago.

In a group in which the top four are perfect at home, USA can’t afford to lose. The Americans can clinch qualification for South Africa if they beat El Salvador and win at Port of Spain next week, coupled with two losses by Mexico.

El Salvador on the other hand needs to defeat the U.S. and then upset tournament-leading Costa Rica on Wednesday to have a chance to advance.

The top three teams in the six-nation round-robin qualify directly for the World Cup, while the fourth placer will face off against South America’s fifth-place squad in a playoff for another berth.

The Yanks are heavy favorites against La Selecta, yet there are some causes for concern. The central defensive duo of Oguchi Onyewu and Jay DeMerit will be missing due to yellow card accumulation and groin strain, respectively.

Game time is 8:10 p.m. ET (2:10 a.m. CET) at Rio Tinto Stadium.

UPDATE: The United States kept their automatic qualification hopes alive as they came from a goal down to defeat El Salvador 2-1. The goals came from Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore.

The victory gave the Americans 13 points in the CONCACAF final round group heading into Wednesday night’s encounter at Trinidad and Tobago.