PHILADELPHIA – When Darwin Ceren and his El Salvador teammates take the field Wednesday night for their CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal against the United States, they will do so as the underdog.
The San Jose Earthquakes midfielder, however, also knows that upsets happen in football. He has the memory of one between the countries.
In 2012, Ceren and El Salvador eliminated the U.S. from the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship after they played to a wild 3-3 draw in the final game of the group stage. The Salvadorans scored the equalizer deep in second-half stoppage time.
“When others view you as the underdog, as the team that can’t win and you’re able do it, these are memories football gives you that you never forget,” Ceren said. “I remember perfectly. It was one of those episodes that makes you believe in what you can do as a football player.
“Tomorrow is another opportunity for us as a footballing nation to believe again in our capabilities.”
There’s also confidence the Cuscatlecos bring from a strong performance in a 3-1 loss to Mexico to open Group C play. El Salvador followed that result with a 2-0 win over Curacao and a 1-1 draw with Jamaica.
But for Ceren and his teammates, it’s about looking forward and not backward.
“We have more confidence in the team now and we have only one opportunity, one chance to advance to the next round,” stressed Ceren. “We have the game against the U.S. now, so all [we’re] thinking is about the U.S. We can’t think about the last game.”
El Salvador has never won in five previous Gold Cup meetings with the U.S. (0W-0D-5L).