Costa Rica and El Salvador battle to scoreless tie in Carson

El Salvador head coach Hugo Perez stops an out of bounds ball
El Salvador coach Hugo Perez, shown during a 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Guatemala on July 11, coached his team to a scoreless draw against Costa Rica on Saturday night in Carson.
(Brandon Wade / Associated Press)

Costa Rica and El Salvador, each playing their final tuneup before the last round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying begins next month, battled to a scoreless draw Saturday before a crowd of around 20,000 at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Costa Rica was the more dangerous team in the second half, but Salvadoran keeper Mario Gonzalez made two splendid saves seconds apart midway through the period to keep the game scoreless.

El Salvador, which hasn’t played in a World Cup since 1982, will open qualifying against the U.S. in San Salvador while Costa Rica, which has played in four of the last five World Cups, travels to Panama for its first game.


Both countries used domestically based rosters Saturday, giving their new coaches one last look at their homegrown players before deciding on call-ups for the first three games of qualifying.

Colombian Luis Fernando Suárez, who has managed in six Latin American countries, took over the Costa Rica team two months ago and has lost just once in six tries. Former U.S. World Cup star Hugo Pérez took over the Salvadoran team in April and is 5-3-3 as the team’s manager.