Action from the CONCACAF Gold Cup game between Costa Rica and El Salvador (white jersey) on July 11, 2015, in Houston. (Photo: Mexsport)
HOUSTON – Substitute Dustin Corea struck deep in stoppage time to give El Salvador (0-2-0, 2 points) a 1-1 draw with Costa Rica (0-2-0, 2 points) in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The result kept the Central American rivals in a tie for second place in Group B, two points behind table-topping Jamaica (1-1-0, 4 points), which defeated Canada (0-1-1, 1 point) earlier in the evening.
In an encounter played under steamy conditions, the first half proved to be a tame affair. After the break, however, proceedings burst to life as the intensity of play increased markedly.
Bryan Ruiz netted his first Gold Cup goal in 10 years to put Costa Rica ahead 1-0 in the 61st minute. The 29-year-old attacker collected a ball lofted into the left side of the box by Alvaro Saborio and headed it forward, before unleashing a left-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Derby Carrillo at the near post from five-yards out.
Just minutes before that goal, El Salvador had an opportunity to take the lead.
Pablo Punyed dribbled down the middle of the field and squeezed a pass into the left side of the box for Irving Herrera, who battled to gain possession. The 23-year-old freed himself for a shot, only to fire directly into a quick-reacting goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado.
The Salvadorans nearly equalized In the 68th minute, but after a clever free kick, Darwin Ceren fired just wide of the right post from the right side of the box.
With time running out, however, El Salvador made another free kick pay off. Arturo Alvarez sent a left-sided delivery towards the top of the six-yard box, where Corea first-timed it with his left foot into the right side of the net.
The goal extended Costa Rica’s Gold Cup winless streak to four games, while El Salvador drew for the fourth time in its last seven tournament outings.
They return to action in Toronto on Tuesday, when Costa Rica will face host Canada and Guatemala takes on Jamaica.
• Dustin Corea became the first Salvadoran other than Rodolfo Zelaya to score a CONCACAF Gold Cup goal, since June 12, 2011, when Elise Quintanilla netted against Cuba, a stretch of seven games.