El Salvador needed a win to put themselves in the best position to advance in the Concacaf Olympic qualifying tournament, but they managed a draw to keep their hopes alive of reaching the Tokyo Olympics, after drawing Honduras 1-1 Monday in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The draw, plus Canada’s draw with Haiti in the other Group B match Monday, means no team has officially clinched a knockout berth in the group yet, so El Salvador have an outside shot of advancing still.
San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Eric Calvillo got his first start in the tournament, putting in a rugged two-way shift with Honduras — who won their opening group-stage match against a heavily shorthanded Haiti team — pushing the pace throughout the first half.
In the 40th minute, Calvillo drew a foul that looked like it might be a penalty, but the replay showed the contact started outside the box. El Salvador could not convert on the subsequent free kick just outside the box.
And that proved costly, because Honduras scored right after the start of the 2nd half, Douglas Martinez scoring the go-ahead goal to give Los Catrachos the 1-0 lead.
Calvillo exited the game in the 55th minute for Marvin Marquez, El Salvador chasing the game and their Olympic hopes. Marquez turned out to score an equalizer 10 minutes later, so that move turned out to be for the best.
From there, neither team found the winner, and they settled for the draw.
What does that mean for El Salvador’s hopes of advancing to the knockout round? They have to beat Haiti in the final group-stage game, on Thursday, and get some help in the Honduras-Canada game. They will need a winner in that other game, and to overcome the goal difference with the loser of that game, so it’s not impossible but they will have to take care of business and get help. We’ll see if they can manage it.
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