With goals from Fredy Thompson and Tránsito Montepeque at the tail end of each half, Guatemala beat El Salvador 2-0 in an international friendly Tuesday at RFK Stadium.
A handful of current MLS players dressed for both teams. Deris Umanzor (Chicago Fire), Osael Romero (Chivas USA) and Arturo Alvarez (San Jose Earthquakes) donned El Salvador’s jersey, while Marco Pappa (Chicago) represented Guatemala.
The match got off to a quick start. Just four minutes in, Montepeque sent a warning the Salvadorans’ way. The forward sent a shot to the top left corner, but goalkeeper Benji Villalobos managed to get his left paw on it.
The Salvadorans answered right back by way of a counterattack that generated a free kick right outside the 18-yard box. Although the resulting shot from the set piece had a heavy bend to it, Guatemalan ‘keeper Ricardo Jerez managed to push the ball over the crossbar.
Those events set the rhythm for the first 20 minutes of the match, in which both sides shared the ball in the midfield and were able to threaten the opponent’s goal.
Pappa had the first clear chance of the match in the 26th minute. The Fire attacker eluded two defenders and faked out Villalobos to get himself in good position to score. Instead of kissing the net, though, Pappa’s shot hit the post.
After Pappa’s miss, El Salvador gained majority control of the midfield and generated dangerous offensive chances, but couldn’t break Guatemala’s defensive lock.
El Salvador’s wasted efforts cost them at the end of the first half. Thompson received a ball in the middle of the box from teammate Mario Castellanos and, after juking two Salvadoran defenders, Thompson slotted the ball past Villalobos’ left hand to put Guatemala up 1-0.
In the second half, Álvarez was brought on to give El Salvador more offensive impetus, and it worked. The Quakes winger generated two good chances, but, as was the norm all game for the team, none ended in the back of the net.
With nine minutes left on the match, El Salvador kept pushed forward even more in desperate search of the equalizer and, after two consecutive shots, almost found it.
But the ending to the story was already written. In the 82nd minute, Guatemala took advantage of El Salvador’s offensive zeal as second-half sub Marvin Ceballos exploited a defensive mistake to assist Montepeque for Guatemala’s second goal of the night.
El Salvador tried to pull at least one back, but Guatemala bunkered down and fended off their rivals’ final attacks.