Ecuador vs El Salvador Preview
La Tri will be hoping to claim a confidence-boosting victory over El Salvador in preparation for their upcoming World Cup qualifier against Paraguay.
Ecuador entertain El Salvador in a 2014 World Cup qualifying preparation game at the Olimpico Atahualpa stadium on Thursday.
The Ecuadorians are currently in second place of the South American World Cup qualifying group, with 17 points from nine games, three points behind group leaders Argentina, with 20 points.
Ecuador, who are on track to qualify for what would be a third World Cup appearance, have a bye in the 10th round of the South American qualifiers, and will take advantage of the break by taking on El Salvador, ahead of their crucial round 11 qualifier against Paraguay next week.
"La Tri" pulled off a 3-2 upset win over Portugal in Guimaraes in early February, and will be hoping to claim another boosting victory against the Central Americans.
The game will serve Reinaldo Rueda, the coach of Ecuador, to observe his squad in action in order to select a strong side for the upcoming battle with Paraguay, which will also be staged at the Atahualpa stadium.
Rueda’s starting eleven includes talented Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia, while his desired strike-force comprises of Christian Benitez and Felipe Caicedo, who have accounted for 7 of Ecuador’s 12 goals in the qualifiers.
Rivals El Salvador will take the game as preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will commence in the United States in July. Their group will comprise of Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti and Honduras.
Agustin Castillo, the Peruvian coach of El Salvador, has selected his strongest-possible starting eleven for the clash with Ecuador, which includes key players such as Lester Blanco, Jaime Alas, Richard Menjivar and Dustin Corea.
But he will be unable to count with the services of midfielder Gerson Mayen, who will likely be replaced by Nestor Raul Renderos.
El Salvador will be hoping to rebound from their frustrating 3-0 defeat to Paraguay in Asuncion in February. The national team are currently in the rebuilding process, after having already been eliminated from Brazil 2014.
Ecuador’s last four matches
Feb 6, 2013: Portugal 2-3 Ecuador (Friendly)
Oct 16, 2012: Venezuela 1-1 Ecuador (WCQ)
Oct 12, 2012: Ecuador 3-1 Chile (WCQ)
Sep 11, 2012: Uruguay 1-1 Ecuador (WCQ)
El Salvador’s last four matches
Feb 6, 2013: Paraguay 3-0 El Salvador (Friendly)
Oct 16, 2012: Mexico 2-0 El Salvador (WCQ)
Oct 12, 2012: El Salvador 0-1 Costa Rica (WCQ)
Sep 9, 2012: Guyana 2-3 El Salvador (WCQ)
— Ecuador are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions, with four wins and two draws, 10 goals in favour and 5 against.
— El Salvador last qualified for the World Cup in 1982, where they failed to pass the group stage after defeats to Hungary, Belgium and Argentina.