El Salvador international Andres Flores (blue jersey) has been enjoying an outstanding 2016 NASL fall season with the New York Cosmos. (Photo: Mexsport)
HEMPSTEAD, New York -- El Salvador has very little room for error entering its final two qualifying matches in the fourth round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Cuscatlecos (0W-2D-2D, 2 points) are in last place in Group A, two points behind Honduras (1-1-2, 4) and Canada (1-1-2). On Friday, they have to avoid defeat against first-place Mexico (4-0-0, 12) and hope that the Honduras-Canada encounter ends in a draw in order to remain in contention for place in the Hexagonal.
"We have to try not to make any mistakes, try to be focused and do big things and do intelligent things,” said El Salvador midfielder Andres Flores, who plays with the New York Cosmos. “We need to win both games. That's huge for us.”
Two wins would see the Salvadorans progress, but Flores is fully cognizant of the task’s difficulty.
"Those two matches are the most important games of the year for us," the 26-year-old remarked. "We're going to face two really tough teams. We have to be prepared. We have to work to give our best."
Flores has been one of the Cosmos’ most dangerous attacking players during the North American Soccer League’s fall season, scoring three goals and notching six assists in seven games, including a stoppage-time winner at Puerto Rico FC on August 20.
“That's the right way to go to the national team, to be in the right form and to be in the best way to go help the team,” Flores commented.
He will miss the next two league games because the NASL does not take an international break. Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese, though, isn’t complaining. He’s delighted with Flores’ success.
"Going to the national team is a good moment for him to be able to give them the best because not only is he very good physically, mentally he is at a very good stage," Savarese noted.
El Salvador has never lost a World Cup qualifier in which Flores appeared, posting a 6-1-0 record in those outings.