After missing the 2018 World Cup, the United States wants to seal its ticket to Qatar 2022 as soon as possible. Christian Pulisic and Co. are sitting in second place in the CONCACAF standings, but the landscape could change on Thursday. First place will be theirs if the Americans defeat El Salvador and Canada loses or draws in Honduras.
As expected, the United States comes in as the betting online favorite at -425. However, the visitors have nothing to lose, making them a tougher opponent than everybody’s thinking.
United States: Home Sweet Home
As I mentioned before, the United States is sitting in second place, one point behind Canada, thanks to a 4-3-1 record. Three of those victories were at home, where they also managed to draw with the Canadians.
Most recently, they drew 1-1 at Jamaica. Timothy Weah opened the can 11 minutes into the game, but the home side evened the score 10 minutes later. Team USA won possession with 62 percent but had some trouble creating more chances.
That wasn’t bad considering it was on the road and the Americans had a back-and-forth battle with Mexico three days prior. That’s why having a deep, well-balanced roster is so important, and for me, TeamUSA’s roster is second to none. Matt Turner, James Sands, Cristian Roldan and Sebastian Lletget didn’t play in Kingston. We’re talking about four of the best players in MLS at the time.
Weston McKennie and Miles Robinson missed the game due to suspension. Both will be back. Sergino Dest, who missed the game due to injury, will be back as well. Team USA truly deserves to be in control of the soccer odds with such a big margin.
Team USA’s predicted lineup: Zach Steffen; DeAndre Yedlin, Miles Robinson, Walker Zimmerman, Antonee Robinson; Yunus Musah, Tyler Adams, Christian Pulisic; Timothy Weah, Ricardo Pepi, Brenden Aaronson.
Last Chance for El Salvador
Here’s why El Salvador has nothing to lose. First, everybody’s always expecting them to fail when visiting Team USA. Second, they’re sitting in seventh place thanks to a 1-3-4 record. Going all-in is their only option, at least if they want to keep hope alive.
Their last game was in Panama, and they put up a good fight. The home side won 2-1 but, again, everybody was expecting a blowout. The visitors scored first thanks to Jairo Henriquez, but they left too much time on the clock. Panama got inspired and turned things around in the second half. Cecilio Waterman evened the score at 50 minutes and Freddy Gondola scored the winning goal two minutes later.
El Salvador has a couple of “insiders” in Eriq Zavaleta and Alex Roldan. Both play in MLS, Zavaleta for Toronto FC and Roldan for the Seattle Sounders. Both sharing their experience with younger players, or those who play in the domestic league, is priceless.
El Salvador has lost three games on the road, but at least they scored in two of those matches.
No major injuries to report here. El Salvador’s predicted lineup: Mario Martinez; Bryan Tamacas, Eriq Zavaleta, Ronald Gomez, Alexander Larin; Christian Martinez, Bryan Landaverde, Enrico Hernandez, Alex Roldan; Joaquin Rivas, Jairo Henriquez.
United States vs El Salvador Head to Head
- Previous Matches: 25
- United States Victories: 18 (60 goals)
- El Salvador Victories: 1 (15 goals)
- Draws: 6
El Salvador pulled off online Sportsbook upset in their first meeting on the road to Qatar 2022. Well, kind of. Team USA was the favorite thanks to a -300 price, but the game finished with a goalless draw. The draw was +260.
I know a goalless draw sounds boring, but it was a very entertaining game. Plus, it was the first time that a WCQ game between these two finished without goals.
United States vs El Salvador Game Information
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: Lower.com Field, Columbus, Ohio
United States vs El Salvador Live Stream: fuboTV
United States vs El Salvador Betting Lines
|USA||-1½ -130||-425||2½ -120o||2½ +150o |
|El Salvador||+1½ Ev||+1200||2½ -110u||½ +150o |
United States vs El Salvador Prediction
While the United States is the better team, the MLS season ended over a month ago. That means several players are out of rhythm.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think you should include the Americans in your soccer picks. However, that’s why I think El Salvador will put up a good fight. That and the fact that they’ll heavily rely on the counter-attack. Team USA already faced a similar challenge against Costa Rica and managed to get the three points.
Score Prediction: United States 2, El Salvador 1
Pick: Over 2½ goals (-120)