HARRISON, N.J. --They are perhaps the youngest team in the 2013 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but it’s a factor that El Salvador plans to use to its advantage in Group B play.
The Salvadorans boast an average age of 24 years and according to one of their leading players, forward Rodolfo Zelaya, speed will be their strength against Trinidad & Tobago in their opener at Red Bull Arena on Monday.
“We are young but we are also fast,” Zelaya said after a media briefing at Red Bull Arena on Sunday. “I know that we are not favorites in this tournament but I am happy with my team and my coach. We will ask God to help us and we want to achieve what we are looking for, we all know that it will be hard but we are ready to give of our best."
Head coach Agustin Castillo is optimistic, but remains a bit more cautious about his team’s chances.
“It’s going to be a complicated game; no game is easy nowadays," he said. "It doesn’t matter the opposition and we have to focus on the task ahead.
“I have only been with the national team for about seven months since they failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, so it is basically a new team. Most of the players are from the Under-23 team. In fact there is only one player who is over 30."
When asked which team he considers to be his toughest competition in the group, Castillo did not favor one over another.
“Like I said, we know we are not the favorites of this tournament and some of the teams are still in the process of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup," he said. "I don’t know if at this point coaches will risk their main players for this tournament. However if they do, they are still strong teams.
“We believe El Salvador will do something good here, and we will show we have what it takes."