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The Dark History Of El Salvador-USA

Right this minute, El Salvador and the USMNT are gearing up to play in a crucial Gold Cup quarterfinal match. The U.S. are clear favorites for this game, ranked the 35th best team in the world while El Salvador is 101st. In the 21 times the two have met, El Salvador have never beaten the U.S, losing 17 and drawing four. 

One of those losses, however, was not like the others. In 2010, a game between the two sides ended in a 2-1 U.S. win., a result that was later determined to be fixed. Interestingly, 2-1 U.S. victory in Tampa on that February night did not unfold in the way you might expect of a fixed match. The U.S. came from behind and the decisive goal was scored in stoppage time.


A 2013 investigation by El Salvador’s soccer federation ruled that not only had match fixing occured in the U.S. game but in three other international games as well. As a result, 14 players were handed immediate lifetime bans from football and a handful of others received shorter punishments. 

Seven years later and it seems El Salvador soccer has done all they can to cast aside this dark past. Last fall, the team revealed they had turned down an offer that would have influenced a 2018 World Cup qualifier against Canada. 

So, don’t expect any funny business tonight. However, there will be two reminders of the corruption in the stadium: goalkeeper Benji Villalobos and star striker Rodolfo Zelaya, both on this year's Gold Cup roster, received suspensions for their involvement in the scandal.

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