The United States will embark on its journey to qualify for the 2022 World Cup when the red, white and blue head south to face El Salvador Thursday. Kickoff is set for 10:05 p.m. ET, and you can watch the match and the two-hour pregame show, "Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers Today" on CBS Sports Network and Paramount+. Follow here for live updates of the match.
What previously was a six-team group to qualify in the past is now eight teams as Concacaf's final stage of qualifying begins all over North and Central America, with teams looking to get off to a hot start, and the Americans hoping to erase memories of four years ago. Gregg Berhalter's team should be near full strength for this match and enter as the clear favorites thanks to being Nations League and Gold Cup champs, but La Selecta have been revived under former USMNT player Hugo Perez, who now coaches El Salvador.
Here's are storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
USA: Christian Pulisic will not play after testing positive for COVID while with Chelsea ahead of the international break. Pulisic trained with his teammates and wasn't in isolation during the lead-up to the game, but he did not travel with the team for the match. So, that means we likely see Brenden Aaronson or Konrad de la Fuente at left wing. Additionally, No. 1 goalkeeper Zack Steffen did not make the trip after waking up Wednesday with back spasms. Berhalter said ahead of the match that New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner, the hero from the Gold Cup, will start.
El Salvador: Perez needs to get his team starting fast. In their last two competitive matches, against Mexico and Qatar at the Gold Cup, they conceded early. Finding themselves in an early hole has been their downfall. Despite nearly coming back against Qatar despite being down 3-0, they know they have to be a bit sharper when closing down in the early moments of the game. Because the U.S. has quality in attack when going one-on-one, El Salvador will have to remain patient along the middle of the backline and look to help close down when attackers cut inside. A failure to do so could mean a long night for La Selecta.
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How to watch and odds
Date: Thursday, Sept. 2 | Time: 10:05 p.m. ET
Location: Estadio Cuscatlan -- San Salvador, El Salvador
TV: CBS Sports Network | Live stream: Paramount+
Follow live updates: CBSSports.com
Odds: El Salvador +500; Draw +275; USA -200 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
A wild, loud Estadio Cuscatlan helps fuel their players to an early lead, but the U.S. gets the equalizer and nearly wins it late, settling for a draw to kick off their road to the World Cup. Pick: USMNT 1, El Salvador 1
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