El Salvador keeps tough schedule, Argentina next

El Salvador (pictured) will face Argentina in an international friendly on March 28, 2015, in Landover, Maryland, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)

LANDOVER, Maryland -- Although El Salvador has faced many top international teams since the arrival of manager Albert Roca, the Spaniard says his job performance should be measured by progress against other CONCACAF sides.

So why then are the Cuscatlecos preparing to face another global giant -- 2014 FIFA World Cup runner-up Argentina -- instead of a potential foe in World Cup Qualifying?

“We’ve started playing elite teams,” Roca explained Friday through a translator.  “But I think that we have accomplished positive things and we have been able to grow from those games.”

The sides will meet Saturday at FedEx Field, which sits near Washington, D.C., in close proximity to a sizeable number of Salvadoran supporters.

And so far, the philosophy of playing big-ticket matches seems to be working.  Following Roca’s appointment last May, El Salvador has performed creditably against five teams that competed at Brazil 2014, including a win over Honduras (1-0) and narrow defeats against the Ivory Coast (2-1) and Spain (2-0).

Further, Roca guided El Salvador to a fourth-place finish in the Central American Cup, earning it a trip to this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, where it will take on Jamaica, Canada and Costa Rica in Group B.

“I’m very pleased with what I’ve done in this year,” said Roca.  “I’ve qualified the team to the Gold Cup and whatever happens next summer, it’s going to happen. But I don’t think I should be judged based on the results that I’ve played against some elite national teams.”

After Saturday, El Salvador flies to Los Angeles to square off against Guatemala in its last match before beginning World Cup Qualifying in June against St. Kitts & Nevis.