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Antonee Robinson’s Goal Sends USMNT Past El Salvador In World Cup Qualifying

By Michael Lewis | Jan. 27, 2022, 11:11 p.m. (ET)

Antonee Robinson takes a shot on goal in the second half during the World Cup qualifying game against El Salvador on Jan. 27, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio.

 

After enduring a frustrating first half, the U.S. men’s soccer team found its footing in the second as it recorded a 1-0 win over a gritty El Salvador side Thursday in a 2022 World Cup qualifying match in Columbus, Ohio.

Left back Antonee Robinson scored the lone goal of the match before a capacity crowd at Lower.com Field.

The Americans (5-1-3, 18 points) remained at least in second place in the “Octagonal,” which is the final round of qualifying in the Concacaf region. Canada, which was still playing Honduras when the USMNT match ended, entered the night in first place with a record of 4-0-4 (16 points) and would retain that spot with a win. Seventh-place El Salvador dropped to 1-5-3 (6 points).

The top three teams at the end of the Octagonal will advance to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, while the fourth-place team moves on to an intercontinental playoff.

U.S. Soccer selected Columbus as the venue for this game, hoping that the sub-freezing temperatures would slow the Central Americans down. It didn’t work, at least not in the opening half.

The U.S., which has scored 11 of its 13 qualifying goals in the second half, finally found the net in the 52nd minute. Robinson slotted home Jesus Ferreira’s header pass from six yards past goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez for a 1-0 advantage.

The Fulham fullback celebrated his second international goal by performing a double back flip and sticking the landing.

A revived American side continually attacked the El Salvadorans’ net but could not find an insurance goal. Robinson, who had an active night on the left flank, found himself with another scoring opportunity, but Gonzalez denied him in the 85th minute.

Goalkeeper Matt Turner, who was rarely tested, did not make a save and recorded the shutout.

The result improved the USMNT’s qualifying record in the Ohio capital to 8-1-2.

The U.S. will journey north to Hamilton, Ontario, to play Canada on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET before returning home to welcome Honduras in the final game of the three-game window in St. Paul, Minnesota, in another cold weather setting on Wednesday Feb. 2.

Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis, who covers soccer for Newsday, has written about the sport for four decades and has written six books about soccer. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.