USA's late winner edges El Salvador

Despite missing its European-based players USA secured a 2-1 comeback against El Salvador on Wednesday with goals from Brian Ching and Sacha Kljestan.

Ching scored with a diving header in the 74th minute and Kljestan put away the winner in 90th-minute injury time to lift the Americans to the victory over El Salvador. Ching, a second half substitute, scored the equalizer from seven yards out after a cross from Heath Pearce that Salvadoran goalkeeper Miguel Montes misplayed. Rudy Corrales' 59th-minute strike had put El Salvador ahead, after a scoreless first half in chilly, rainy conditions at Raymond James stadium.

Ching, Kljestan and Pearce were among just a handful of players in the USA squad who appear to have a good chance of being selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Ching was in the 2006 FIFA World Cup squad but didn't take the field.

"I thought there were a lot of positives," USA coach Bob Bradley said. "Some good efforts. Some positive things on the field."

All but one of the Americans on the pitch plays in Major League Soccer, with the European-based starters absent as they were for a 3-1 loss to Honduras on 23 January. For next Wednesday's friendly against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, the team should more closely resemble the team that helped the United States book their place in a sixth straight FIFA World Cup.

That will be the last match before coach Bob Bradley names his 23-man squad for South Africa. The players are to gather in mid-May and have friendlies against the Czech Republic (25 May) and Turkey (29 May) at Philadelphia before departing for South Africa.

The Americans, who were ousted in the first round of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, launch their campaign on 12 June against England. Six days later they play Slovenia, before they close the first round against Algeria.