The United States looked all set for a quarterfinal matchup with Martinique until Cuba spoiled the party, defeating Belize by four goals to grab the last quarterfinal spot. That meant that the United States, instead of facing the weakest team in the quarterfinals, would have to face a reasonably formidable El Salvador side in the Gold Cup quarters.
El Salvador are hardly world beaters -- they dropped points to Guyana in the third round of World Cup qualifying and missed the Hex -- but they're certainly stronger than Cuba and Martinique. They've played well so far in this tournament, drawing fellow quarterfinalists Trinidad and Tobago and defeating Haiti. They nearly grabbed a draw from Honduras, which could have sent them through in first or second place, but conceded a winner to Jorge Claros in stoppage time.
The United States has called in four new players for the quarterfinals, per tournament rules, although they're the only team to call in more than one new reinforcement. Alan Gordon, Eddie Johnson and Matt Besler did not play for their MLS teams on Saturday and will be available right away, while Omar Gonzalez played on Saturday night and will join up with the team for the semifinals if they defeat El Salvador.
Who Jurgen Klinsmann starts is anyone's guess. He said that he would play his best team against Costa Rica, but opted to make some unexpected changes and give a rest to a few of his starters. Besler and Johnson have established themselves as regulars for the main U.S. squad and probably have a better shot at starting than Gordon does. Gordon has a knack for scoring or assisting late in matches when brought off the bench and he's probably been called into the team to fill that role.
Match date/time: Sunday, 4 p.m. ET
Venue: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Md.
TV: FOX (U.S. - English), Univision (U.S. - Spanish), Sportsnet World (Canada), ESPN (U.K.)