Believed to be the weakest of the six national teams, El Salvador enters the final qualifying phase looking to gain regional and even global respect as the country faces off against heavyweights Costa Rica, Mexico, and the USA. A fight over 4th place in the group will more-than-likely be waged against T&T and the two border nations Honduras and El Salvador.
Feb 11: Trinidad & Tobago at El Salvador
Mar 28: USA at El Salvador
Apr 1: El Salvador at Costa Rica
Jun 6: Mexico at El Salvador
Jun 10: El Salvador at Honduras
Aug 12: El Salvador at Trinidad & Tobago
Sept 5: El Salvador at USA
Sept 9: Costa Rica at El Salvador
Oct 10: El Salvador at Mexico
Oct 14: Honduras at El Salvador
With three of the first four matches at home, El Salvador must come away with a minimum of 5 points to have a shot at fourth place in the group. After hosting El Tri on June 6, the team plays the next three on the road beginning with Honduras and ending with the USA.
Meet the Members of the Team
Mexican manager Carlos de los Cobos oversees the national team. He signed on in August of 2006. Three of his core players who will factor include:
Alfredo Alberto Pacheco: The 25-year-old defender has played for Club Deportivo FAS since 2001. Known as a fierce competitor, he is the captain of the national team.
Eliseo Quintanilla: The midfielder enjoyed a short stint with DC United. After two injury-riddled seasons, he returned to Central America. The 25-year-old has been a key contributor in qualifying. This past June, he scored two goals in the match with Panama allowing El Salvador to advance to the third round.
Rodolfo Zelaya: The forward was the top goal scorer of the third round after his hat trick against Haiti. The 20-year-old ended the round with four goals. Is his offensive output going to carry over into the fourth round?
Key Match: Honduras at El Salvador (October 14, 2009): Realistically, these border nations could be fighting for 4th place and a potential spot in the World Cup.
Best Case Scenario: Fourth place and a berth in the intercontinental play-off against the fifth-place team from South America’s qualifiers. The two countries will compete over two legs with the winner moving on to South Africa.
Worst Case Scenario: Sixth place and a scenario where de los Cobos uses the final matches to gain the young prospects (Rodolfo Zelaya, Cesar Alexander Larios, and Benji Oldai Villalobos) some valuable experience.