DENVER, Colorado – After each suffered a loss in their 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup openers, El Salvador and Curacao will attempt to bounce back Thursday night, when they square off at Sports Authority Field.
The Salvadorans fell 3-1 to Mexico, while Curacao – despite enjoying a 19-12 advantage in shots attempted – dropped a 2-0 decision to Jamaica.
Another defeat will see El Salvador’s Gold Cup winless streak be extended to a team-record six straight games. Making matters even more challenging, it has failed to score more than one goal in seven consecutive outings.
The encounter will only be Curacao’s second-ever in the competition. Its cause was made more daunting with the news that captain and right-back Cuco Martina left the squad, reportedly flying to England in order to settle his club situation.
Here are some storylines to watch:
- Prior to conceding three goals to Mexico, El Salvador had allowed only two in its previous three Gold Cup games. Can the defense return to tightfisted ways?
- It was good news for El Salvador that a player other than Rodolfo Zelaya scored in a Gold Cup match. Nelson Bonilla’s strike in the 10th minute made it 1-1 against. It will be interesting to see if that partnership blossom.
- Thursday’s match at Sports Authority Field will be contested one mile above sea level. This is unchartered territory for Curacao. Can elevation issues be overcome?
- With Martina’s exit – knowing that his experience cannot be replaced -- who will step into his leadership shoes?