U.S. held to hard-fought draw with El Salvador

The United States played out a hard-fought draw against El Salvador in its first match of the Octagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in San Salvador on Thursday night.

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Tyler Adams wore the armband for the U.S., becoming the youngest player in the modern era to do so, while both Christian Pulisic and Zack Steffen were not with the team as they both recovered from setbacks.

The teams traded headed opportunities in the opening 15 minutes with Gold Cup hero Miles Robinson of the U.S. and El Salvador’s Ronald Ronald Rodriguez both sending efforts from set pieces narrowly over the crossbar.

The U.S. grew into the tail end of the second half with Josh Sargent getting more involved in the Americans’ attack, but the neither team scored and the teams went to the break locked in a goalless draw.

Goals continued to be impossible to come by for either side and U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter made a trio of substitutes just past the hour mark, bringing on Jordan Siebatcheu, Antonee Robinson and Kellyn Acosta to try to jumpstart his team’s attack.

McKennie flashed a header wide and Acosta’s nodded effort came back off the bar and was smothered by El Salvador keeper Mario Gonzalez as the match approached the 80-minute mark.

Neither team could find a winner and had to settle for a point, with the U.S. next in action in Nashville against Canada on Sunday.

Mexico lead the way after the first round, picking up three points in a win over Jamaica, while the other three matches finished in draws.