The United States men’s national team are closing in on a spot in Qatar after a 1-0 win over El Salvador on Thursday in World Cup qualifying. The Americans were far from sharp, missed clear chances in the first half yet got a winner early in the second half thanks to Antonee Robinson’s fine finish in the box. The Fulham fullback now has two goals in qualifying for the red, white and blue after his 52nd-minute strike.
After entering the day with a 5-3-1 record, the Americans knew they had an opportunity to cushion their lead for one of the three direct spots to the 2022 World Cup, and they got the job done despite not being all that convincing. With young star striker Ricardo Pepi on the bench, it was Jesus Ferreira, his old FC Dallas teammate, who got the start. But the Colombia-born attacker could not deliver, missing one good chance and one golden chance in the opening 20 minutes.
The U.S. held 62.4% of the possession on the night and had 17 shots to El Salvador’s six, but the one that did the trick came off a rebound where the visiting defense could not react in time. Take a look:
The U.S. recorded an xG of 2.98 but could not take the chances to put it away, while still winning somewhat comfortably with El Salvador offering next to nothing going forward. Hugo Perez’s side had an xG of just 0.20 on six total shots.