PHILADELPHIA – Although the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup ended for El Salvador following a 2-0 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, it could signal the start of something special for the Cuscatlecos.
“We can start thinking that this might be a beginning of something nice, something that has a future and hopefully comes within the next two years once we start the qualifiers again,” goalkeeper Derby Carrillo said. “Hopefully we can start rattling some cages and start making some noise in the qualifiers.”
Carrillo, who plays for IBV in Iceland, believes that El Salvador’s performances at the Gold Cup has brought confidence back to a team that was eliminated from CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers last September.
In the Gold Cup, El Salvador earned praise for its attacking style of play in losses to regional powerhouses Mexico and the United States, and a win over Curacao.
“More than anything I feel the team got its confidence back from two years ago,” Carrillo said. “You can see it when we played against Mexico. We basically went heads up against them for a good 30 minutes and we showed them we can play. Against the U.S., clearly if you look at it, we had quite a bit of opportunities when we played head-to-head against them and could have possibly made it an interesting game.”
Following that failed World Cup qualification bid, which saw El Salvador go winless in all six fourth-round matches, Andres Flores sensed a dark cloud hover over the squad. Now, the New York Cosmos midfielder sees hope for a brighter tomorrow.
“This group is trying to give the people what they deserve,” said Flores. “All the fans are always waiting for a good result and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re working hard for that. I really hope the future will be better for us.”
El Salvador head coach Eduardo Lara is a believer.
“Every day they convince me even more that this is a great group,” the 57-year-old Colombian finished. “They have that trust they require. I think further down the road I think they’re going to have a very promising future for football in El Salvador.”