The game between the United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) and El Salvador was anything but glamorous, given the disturbing quantity mud on the pitch, the 2 red cards, the shards of metal on the field, the periodic melees and so much more.
Five months from now, the USMNT will file out in some of the finest stadiums in the world; playing on picture-perfect pitches with millions of fans watching ad cheering them on in their air-conditioned venues.
However, before the euphoria of such games, the USMNT had to ensure CONCACAF one more time.
The team’s preparation for the World Cup continued in disgusting conditions in El Salvador. It was a game that came with some apparent lessons that could help in Qatar during the World Cup.
“You had to battle a number of different elements,” USMNT boss Gregg Berhalter said. “You had some some referee decisions that are questionable. You had the weather conditions, whether it be pouring rain or the the field conditions, the mud that we’re dealing with, some gamesmanship by the opponent.
“All of those things added together made for a number of different challenges that we had to overcome on that night and the guys really responded well.
“They stayed calm and they just kept working hard. It shows them I think that sometimes, the answer to these solutions is just working really hard.”
In the end, the result of the game was a 1-1 draw in a match that featured two red cards and a whole bunch of unpleasant and avoidable situations.