El Salvador reach quarterfinals overwhelming Trinidad & Tobago 2-0

El Salvador celebrates scoring the first goal of the game against Trinidad & Tobago
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El Salvador reaches the quarterfinals stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, thanks to goals from Jairo Henriquez and Walmer Martinez. It was another well-executed display from La Selecta, as they kept another clean sheet and double their goal difference. Trinidad & Tobago are now hoping for a miracle if they are to advance out of the group.

El Salvador reach the quarterfinals stage of the Gold Cup

Team News

El Salvador makes one change after their victorious start against Guatemala. Goalscorer Joaquin Rivas replaces Juan Portillo and joins Jairo Henriquez upfront in the attack. Midfield and defense are unchanged. The other goalscorer, Alex Roldan, is on the bench again.

Trinidad & Tobago made wholesale changes to the team that drew against Mexico. Captain and goalkeeper Marvin Phillip, who was splendid in the net, was replaced by Nicklas Frenderup. Ryan Telfer and Mekeil Williams make up a back-five in place of R.A. Bakr and Ross Russell. Duane Muckette and captain for today’s game – Kevin Molino – get the nod at the wings over Jesse Williams and Hachim Arcia. The young striker from MLS, Noah Powder (Real Salt Lake) leads the line over Reon Moore.

El Salvador Lineup (4-4-2): Mario Gonzalez; Alexander Larin, Ronald Gomez, Eriq Zavaleta, Bryan Tamacas; (C) Marvin Monterroza, Darwin Ceren, Joshua Perez, Narciso Orellana; Jairo Henriquez, Joaquin Rivas

Trinidad & Tobago Lineup (5-4-1): Nicklas Frenderup; Mekeil Williams, Ryan Telfer, Jelani Peters, Aubrey David, Alvin Jones; Duane Muckette, Tristan Hodge, Neveal Hackshaw, (C) Kevin Molino; Noah Powder

First Half: Jairo Henriquez gives El Salvador the lead

Barely 15 minutes into the match and Trinidad & Tobago had made a substitution – Andre Fortune II replaced Tristan Hodge. El Salvador increased the pressure early on with their pressing. They got a big chance in the 24-minute but Rivas’ first-time shot was parried by Frenderup.

But El Salvador would get the lead through Jairo Henriquez (the link to the Henriquez goal for the Canadian viewers). With time and space, he ripped a shot from outside the box past Frenderup in off the far post to give La Selecta the lead. Defensively, Trinidad & Tobago should’ve done better to close him down and alter his shot.

El Salvador nearly doubled the lead before halftime. After dispossessing their opponents deep in their own half, Rivas had a chance to strike again, but his shot was parried away, onto the path of Perez who kicked his effort high of a goal. For the second straight first half, La Selecta was able to overwhelm their opponent with passing and suffocating the opposition after losing the ball. Only this time, they were able to get a goal in the opening 45 minutes. Not to mention the eleven shots, with four on goal that tested Frenderup.

Trinidad & Tobago were struggling to cope. Just two shots in that first half, just one on target. Given it’s their fourth game in the last twelve days, the players are definitely feeling the heat as well as a bit of fatigue. El Salvador didn’t help their cause with 60 percent of the possession of the ball, and losing Hodge early in the match was another blow.

Second Half: Another late goal sends El Salvador to the quarterfinals

The second half started and Trinidad and Tobago made substitutions – Reon Moore replaces Jelani Peters, Marcus Joseph came on for Duane Muckette. El Salvador would make their first changes of the match – Amando Moreno replaces Monterroza, Juan Portillo for Perez.

Trinidad and Tobago nearly equalized after a cross into the box resulted in a mixup that saw the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and then cleared away. Marvin Marquez came on for Rivas, while Alex Roldan came on for goalscorer Henriquez. Trinidad and Tobago deployed another change, with Hashim Arcia replacing Ryan Telfer. Isaac Portillo came on for Darwin Ceren for El Salvador.

La Selecta nearly converted a second goal but Frenderup made a wonderful sprawling side to keep his team in it. Bryan Tamacas would come off for Walmer Marinez late in the match. It would be the sixth substitution of the match, more than the allotted five allowed. Walmer Martinez would seal the result doubling the lead late on (the link to the Martinez goal for the Canadian viewers). And that’d do it, punching El Salvador’s ticket into the quarterfinals.

Last Words on El Salvador vs Trinidad & Tobago

Another great display from El Salvador has this team on a high right now. Two games, four goals, two clean sheets, six points are all you can really ask for. Their possession, pressing and overall balance of play is a recipe that can surprise higher-quality teams. The next game against Mexico will be another nice test against one of the tournament favorites. On a side note, despite making six substitutions, El Salvador won’t be punished. Bryan Tamacas came off with a head injury, making it a concussion-related sub. So no harm no foul, and the game won’t be forfeited.

Give credit to Trinidad and Tobago for giving it a real go in the second half. The heat was taking its toll on the players, especially after another game in quick succession. They simply didn’t have the quality up front and failed to build many sustainable attacks. They’ll like their chances better against Guatemala in the last group stage game, in order to avoid finishing last.

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