El Salvador is in their 10th Gold Cup after finishing 3rd in the Copa Centroamericana. They’ve had moderate success in the tournament as their best finish was finishing in the quarterfinals 4 times(2002, 2003, 2011, 2013).
Manager Eduardo Lara has gone 2-2-3 ever since taking the job last year. This will be the 57-year-old’s 1st ever Gold Cup appearance.
Lara has an interesting squad being relatively young with no player over 30 in the squad. The most notable player missing is midfielder Arturo Alvarez. Alvarez would be the only player above 30 on the squad.
In a crowded midfield on the Chicago Fire the 32-year-old has been pretty dangerous on the wings. El Salvador will deeply miss him as he would be a nice piece in their tournament campaign.
The biggest star is San Jose Earthquakes’ Darwin Ceren. The 27-year-old is solid in the midfield and will control the game in El Salvador’s usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
Another big name is forward Rodolfo Zelaya. Currently 3rd with two others in El Salvador’s all-time goal scoring list, the 28-year-old is a proven goalscorer. Zelaya will be the main scoring option for a team that’s only scored 12 goals in 10 games in World Cup Qualifying.
El Salvador’s biggest problem is their defense. Allowing 16 goals in World Cup Qualifying will not cut it since they have very strong competition in their group.
No names pop out in their defense as most of them play in the Primera Division, the top professional soccer league in El Salvador. The only defensive player not playing in the Primera Division is Alexander Larin and he plays in the 2nd division in Mexico.
Prediction: El Salvador will finish 3rd in Group C. They arguably are in the most competitive group involving teams such as Mexico and Jamaica.
They will lose to Mexico and Jamaica and tie against Curacao. They will not advance to the knockout rounds as they will be the worst out of the three 3rd place teams in the Gold Cup.