WCup El Salvador US Soccer

United States' Antonee Robinson (5) celebrates his goal with Weston McKennie (8) and Chris Richards (15) during the second half of a World Cup qualifying match against El Salvador Thursday night, Jan. 27, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio.

U.S. men hold off El Salvador 1-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Antonee Robinson broke through a freeze in the air and the U.S. offense, scoring a big goal in the 52nd minute that lifted the Americans over El Salvador 1-0 on Thursday night and kept them on track for a return to the World Cup.

The narrow victory on a 29-degree night that tied the record low temperature for a home American qualifier boosted the U.S. to 18 points with five games left.

The U.S. has two more chilly matchups in the next week and can move to the verge of a berth with victories on Sunday against Canada in Hamilton, Ontario, and Wednesday against Honduras at St. Paul, Minnesota. The final three qualifiers are in March.

The top three nations qualify, and the fourth-place team advances to a playoff against the Oceania champion, likely New Zealand. Winning home games is a key, and the Americans have won four of five matches on U.S. soil, stumbling only in a draw against Canada in September.

Robinson scored after Weston McKennie played a long ball down the right flank to Tim Weah, who let it bounce as he ran past Roberto Domínguez and Eduardo Vigil.

Goalkeeper Mario González made a sliding block, and the ball rebounded to Jesús Ferreira. He headed it across the goalmouth and Christian Pulisic let the ball bounce past him to Robinson, who kicked it in with his left foot from 8 yards for his second international goal.

The U.S. Soccer Federation scheduled the match in a cold climate to minimize travel and put the chill on El Salvador, which went to a sporting goods store to purchase additional winter gear.

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— Associated Press

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