United States vs. El Salvador
Date and Time: Wednesday, July 19, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
United States vs. El Salvador TV Coverage: FOX Sports 1
The Americans have made four changes to their outfield that should ultimately really improve upon a team that was lacking in confidence at the outset of this tournament. Michael Bradley will come to the squad and immediately take over a defense stance in the midfield as well as assuming the captain's armband. Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey are now tremendous upgrades over Dom Dwyer and the rest of the U.S. forwards. Darlington Nagbe should provide a tremendous boost on the outside of the diamond in the team's midfield.
The exchange of Brad Guzan for Tim Howard in net isn't a huge deal, though we should keep an eye on Jesse Gonzalez as well as he makes his first ever appearance as a member of the U.S. Men's National Team.
The Americans almost have to play better than they did in the group stage. Sure, they managed to get seven points of a possible nine, but those first two matches were far scarier than they should have been and resulted in just four points instead of the six that was predicted at the start of the tourney.
El Salvador finished third in Group C behind Mexico and Jamaica, but thanks to a draw in the third match against the Reggae Boyz, both teams were able to go through to the knockout rounds.
La Selecta did what it was supposed to do against Curacao to take all three points, and the duel against Jamaica easily could have resulted in a win as well.
It's been a proud tournament to date for Nelson Bonilla. He scored against Mexico early on to level after an early goal from El Tri, and he scored the opening strike 15 minutes in against Jamaica.
The big concern that El Salvador has had has been at the back. Shutting out Curcaco is one thing. But allowing four against Mexico and Jamaica was a different story.
The one thing the Americans didn't do with their six changes is help out at the back. This is clearly a bit of a patchwork defense at the moment, led by Graham Zusi and Omar Gonzalez. The rest of the team at the back is nothing to write home about, and Tim Howard probably isn't going to ultimately change all of that now that he's playing in net instead of Brad Guzan.
La Selecta has done a nice job of pushing balls from the center of the pitch into the front line where Bonilla has done a fantastic job finishing. Bonilla is clearly the most dangerous player on the pitch for the decided underdogs, and if there's a man who can upset the United States, he's it.
United States vs. El Salvador Free Picks
We just can't see the applecart being upset here. The United States wasn't anywhere near fantastic in the group stage of this tournament, but changing the roster is going to be a huge shot in the arm for a team that badly needs it.
The Americans have had a good history in the knockout rounds of the Gold Cup in recent years aside from that dud against Jamaica in the 2015 semifinals. El Salvador should end up being a pushover in this one.
United States vs. El Salvador Soccer Pick: United States on the Asian Handicap at BookMaker.eu
United States vs. El Salvador Score Prediction: United States 4, El Salvador 0