El Salvador welcomes Mexico for a huge WCQ battle

El Salvador player Enrico Duenas celebrates with teammates with goal at Cuscatlan Stadium
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PREVIEW – El Salvador welcomes the visit of CONCACAF leaders Mexico in a big battle Wednesday night. La Selecta is coming off a disappointing 2-1 loss away to Costa Rica. El Tri is coming off a dominant 3-0 win over Honduras. The last time these two nations played was the Group A decider at last summer’s Gold Cup, where Mexico won 1-0 against an impressive El Salvador team. It’s the last round of fixtures in this October window.

El Salvador hosts Mexico in CONCACAF WCQ

This will be the sixth game of this WCQ cycle, and El Salvador will play in its fourth home contest. All five of their points have come at the Estadio Cuscatlan, proving to be a nice home-field advantage. Hugo Perez is finally seeing the attack kick into a higher gear after scoring in their last two games. However, two goals are all they’ve scored thus far, tied for fewest in the table.

Mexico can look to exploit this and take the game to the hosts. Already, Gerardo Martino’s men have scored eight goals, the most in the region. They’ve also found the net in every game so far, as they are currently the only unbeaten team remaining. The 4-3-3 has yielded strong performances from Hirving Lozano, Hector Herrera and Jesus Gallardo to name a few. El Salvador will have to remain disciplined in their press and capitalize on any mistakes.

La Selecta’s litmus test against leaders El Tri

With the USMNT and Canada struggling to assert themselves, Mexico looks like the team to beat. Martino will have to decide between Raul Jimenez or Rogelio Funes Mori to lead the attack. Mario Gonzalez will have to be at his best to stop El Tri’s free-flowing attack. Much of the team that lost at Costa Rica will likely start against Mexico, barring any surprises. Enrico Duenas and Jairo Henriquez have become the danger men for Hugo Perez, with the 4-4-2 providing a solid foundation for the way they play. Alex Roldan will have his hands full against either Lozano or Orbelin Pineda.

The narrow 1-0 win for Mexico back at the Gold Cup could show itself in this game. El Salvador hit the post off a free-kick and had the better of proceedings until El Tri took the lead. On their travels, Mexico has won at Costa Rica and drew at Panama, so either result is only a positive for Martino and players. Another home draw for El Salvador – who already have two – will cause a feeling of wanting more. A draw does little for La Selecta. This is a game El Salvador will feel they need to win in order to keep pace with the likes of the USA, Canada and Panama. A win for Hugo Perez and company will see them close to the top-4 places, a win for Mexico will see them increase their advantage at the top.

The El Salvador-Mexico rivalry has been one-sided, to say the least. El Tri has won the last eight games head-to-head, a streak lasting over twelve years. La Selecta last beat Mexico during the 2010 qualification cycle, a memorable 2-1 win at Estadio Cuscatlan. Goals from Julio Martinez and Eliseo Quintanilla sealed a memorable result against Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s Mexico. It’s going to be one of the games to watch come Wednesday night.

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