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Not much went well for the United States men’s national team at the CONCACAF Nations League on Tuesday night through the first 90 minutes.
But Jordan Morris saved the day in stoppage time.
On a rainy night and a mud-splotched pitch, the USMNT drew 1-1 with El Salvador, thanks to Morris’ late-match heroics.
Maximiliano Bretos @MaxBretosSports
That’s why you play this game like a World Cup game. Let this team figure things out.. They did.. #USMNT
It appeared the game’s key moment was going to be Ethan Horvath’s 35th-minute gaffe, when was frozen by an Alexander Larin shot and let in the game’s first goal.
Stu Holden @stuholden
100% a shot from Larín… a beautiful strike too. Horvath got caught at his near post- not a great sequence for him or Cannon. #USMNT had some good moments but need to find some quality on this surface somehow….
Stephen Meyer @StephenMeyerRDC
This is an absolute slop-fest on a nightmare pitch, so very little can be taken seriously. But Horvath’s positioning is unaffected by the conditions…that was really, really, really bad. My kingdom for a #USMNT GK who is starting every week.
The USMNT’s comeback chances grew even bleaker when Paul Arriola was sent off in the 71st minute on a controversial red:
FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer
Paul Arriola was shown a red for this challenge pic.twitter.com/LxKRg84MwP
Ives Galarcep @SoccerByIves
RED CARD! Paul Arriola is sent off, leaving the #USMNT with 10 men. Looked to be a yellow, but ref says otherwise and now the Americans are down a goal and down a man.
1-0 El Salvador, 71st minute.
Nine minutes later, El Salvador’s Ronald Gomez was shown red himself for denying Yunus Musah a clear goalscoring opportunity, evening the sides once again.
And despite some time-wasting tactics from the El Salvadorians and a missed call on a handball in El Salvador’s box, the USMNT still managed to find an equalizer.
This game had scraps. The pitch was a mess. The officiating was spotty. It truly was the full CONCACAF experience. If you were given just one word to describe the action, you couldn’t be blamed for settling on “drunk.”
Ives Galarcep @SoccerByIves
Clear handball in the penalty area by El Salvador is missed by the referee. (Still 1-0 El Salvador, 90th minute.) pic.twitter.com/MlKWe4BVh9
Tom Withers @twithersAP
This @USMNT game is crazy crazy.
All in all, the USMNT will take the result. It was a gutty draw to find in the end after it appeared the game had slipped out of their grasp.
In terms of what Craig Berhalter might have learned about his team, however, a pair of players at positions in question—Horvath at goalkeeper and Haji Wright at striker—didn’t put their best foot forward.
In Wright’s defense, a messy field and a chippy contest probably didn’t give him a fair chance to make an impression. That context should matter. Horvath, however, was the difference between a USMNT win and a draw on a shot he should have saved.
As Berhalter continues to decide on his first-choice goalkeeper, that gaffe will likely remain in his mind.