Ching, Kljestan lead US over El Salvador 2-1
Brian Ching is worried a possible Major League Soccer strike could hurt the chance of U.S.-based players to make the World Cup roster.
``If we're not playing games week in and week out, that puts us at a big disadvantage,'' Ching said Wednesday night after helping the U.S. rally past El Salvador 2-1 in an exhibition. ``Hopefully, it doesn't happen.''
Ching scored on a diving header in the 75th minute and assisted on Sacha Kljestan's go-ahead goal in the second minute of stoppage time.
All but one of the U.S. players was from MLS, which appears to be on the verge of its first strike, and for many it was their last chance to impress coach Bob Bradley before he selects his 23-man U.S. roster. The Americans again badly missed their Europe-based starters, who also weren't used in the 3-1 loss to Honduras on Jan. 23.
Jonathan Bornstein said the potential shutdown should not be the focus.
``It's something we'll take in stride if it were to happen,'' Bornstein said. ``We're all professionals here. We all know what it's going to take, should something happen, to stay in shape and do what we have to do. Should it happen, we'll hit it head on when the time comes.''
The 14th-ranked U.S. outshot No. 71 El Salvador 18-3 with the ``B'' team. If there is an MLS team camp, Bradley will adjust training plans ahead of the arrival of Europe-based players in mid-May.
``The only thing that I think matters from a national team standpoint is that we'll react accordingly in terms of schedule, training, that kind of thing,'' he said.
Ching, Kljestan, Bornstein and Heath Pearce were among only a handful of U.S. players on the night's roster who appear to have a decent chance of being selected for the World Cup roster. Ching was on the 2006 team but didn't get into a match.
A second half sub, Ching scored on a 7-yard shot off a long cross from Pearce that goalkeeper Miguel Montes misplayed, offsetting Rudis Corrales' 59th-minute goal for Los Cuscatlecos.
Kljestan intercepted an errant pass, exchanged passes with Ching and scored from 6 yards.
``I thought there were a lot of positive,'' Bradley said. ``Some good efforts. Some positive things on the field.''
For next Wednesday's exhibition against the third-ranked Netherlands in Amsterdam, the U.S. lineup should more closely resemble the team that helped the Americans qualify for their sixth straight World Cup.
After that, the Americans have exhibitions against the Czech Republic (May 25) and Turkey (May 29 at Philadelphia) before leaving for South Africa. Coming off first-round elimination at the 2006 World Cup, they open the tournament June 12 against England, play Slovenia six days later and close the first round June 23 against Algeria.
Pearce started at left back and Brad Evans at right back, with Bornstein and Clarence Goodson - the lone Europe-based player - in the center. Ching entered at the start of the second half in place of Conor Casey. Nick Rimando was surprise starter in goal in place of Troy Perkins.
Corrales put El Salvador ahead after Evans made an errant header deep in the U.S. zone that appeared intended for Rimando.
The U.S. had five shots on goal to one for El Salvador in the first half, with Montes making diving saves on Kljestan and Robbie Rogers.
Overall, the United States had an 11-2 shots on goal advantage. The US also had nine corner kicks to one for El Salvador.