Gold Cup Fast Facts: U.S. vs. El Salvador

20170611 MNT v MEX Michael Bradley

By JACK BELL

Gold Cup logoThe experiments are over. The CONCACAF Gold Cup is not.

United States national team Coach Bruce Arena has added six players and subtracted six players as the American team gets set for its quarterfinal match against El Salvador in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday night.

Immediately after the U.S. scrambled to a 3-0 win over Nicaragua last weekend to nail down the top spot in Group B and avoid Costa Rica in the quarterfinals, Arena announced that he had dropped Alejandro Bedoya (he actually requested the move awaiting the birth of his second child), Brad Guzan, Sean Johnson, Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe and Dom Dwyer.

He added Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jesse Gonzalez, Darlington Nagbe and Tim Howard.

According to the novel rules of the 2017 Gold Cup, teams are permitted to make up to six roster changes within 24 hours of their final group stage match. No other tournament we know of allows changes in mid-tournament. Arena used 22 of the 23 players on the initial roster (only New York City FC goalkeeper Johnson did not play).

Altidore, Bradley, Dempsey, Howard and Nagbe combine for 503 caps, 111 international goals, 10 trips to the FIFA World Cup and 11 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments. Dempsey (134; No. 3), Bradley (133; tied for No. 4) and Howard (115; No. 8) are all in the U.S. team’s top 10 career caps list; Altidore has 104 caps (No. 13).

Dempsey (56) and Altidore (37) are second and third on the goal-scoring list, with Dempsey one goal behind Landon Donovan for the career lead.

¶ After Saturday’s victory in the final group stage match, the U.S. is unbeaten (6-0-5) in 11 games since Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as the coach last November.

¶ Rules for the knockout stages have been changed by CONCACAF. If quarterfinal and semifinal matches are tied after 90 minutes, the games will go directly to penalty kicks, no 30-minute extra periods. Extra time will only be played in the final (Wednesday, July 26 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.) if teams are tied at the end of 90 minutes. Also, teams will also be allowed a fourth substitution in extra time.

¶ Two U.S. players will celebrate birthdays on Wednesday. Defender Matt Miazga, who scored the decisive third goal for the U.S. against Nicaragua, turns 22. Nagbe will be 27. By coincidence, they each made their international debuts as substitutes in the 64th minute of the 6-1 World Cup qualifying win over St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Nov. 13, 2015 in St. Louis.

¶ The U.S. is 16-1-5 vs. El Salvador and 13-0-2 on U.S. soil. The U,S, is a perfect 5-0-0 against El Salvador in the old Cup and has twice faced Los Cuscatlecos in the quarterfinals, winning, 4-0, in 2002 and, 5-1, in 2013. The U.S. is in the midst of a 12-match, 25-year unbeaten streak against the El Salvador. The lone loss to Los Cuscatlecos was in a 2-0 friendly defeat on Feb. 19, 1992 in San Salvador.

¶ Twi New York Cosmos players — Andrés Flores and Richard Menjivar — are part of El Salvador’s team. A third, Irwin Herrera, had been on the roster, but is injured and has not played in the tournament.