FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) — Little-used forward Brian Ching led
the United States to a 2-0 win over a short-handed El Salvador in a
World Cup qualifying game here Saturday.

Ching’s goal in the fifth minute gave the home team a much
needed boost in the game, which was marked by an ejection,
aggressive play and a brawl.

U.S. coach Bruce Arena said: “The game got a little ugly.
We knew well in advance that was how the game was going to look.
It’s about having patience, composure, all about movement,
give yourself room to create chances.”

Ching, who salvaged a tie against Jamaica last month with a goal
in the 89th minute, has two scores in four appearances. Landon
Donovan added the insurance in the 69th minute, sending home 25,266
happy fans.

The win placed the United States at the top of its qualifying
group with four points and four matches left, including
tomorrow’s contest at Panama. It is 6-1-4 this year and 3-0-1
in qualifiers. Arena is 50-23-20 as coach of the United States.

Ching’s goal came when he beat Salvadoran captain Victor
Velasquez to head Bobby Convey’s cross off the near post and
into the net. Given time and space on the left flank, Convey was
able to serve the ball into the penalty area.

Ching, about seven yards from the net, had no trouble nodding it
in.

Ironically, Ching was carried off here just over a year ago when
he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a Major League Soccer
match.

“Last year being carried off here provided a lot of
motivation to get to where I am now,” he said. “It put
a lot of motivation into me to get where I am today. Today, I tried
to do the things I am good at — you don’t see me taking
five or six guys on.”

The game was marred by rough play, frequent stoppages, eight
minutes of injury time in the first half and a near brawl on the
sidelines that resulted in the ejection of Salvadoran coach Juan
Parades.

Following a 20-minute stretch that saw several tough tackles,
Salvadoran midfielder Denis Alas was tossed in the 26th minute by
referee Neal Brizan after his second caution. The ejection followed
a rough tackle on DaMarcus Beasley at midfield by Jorge Rodriguez
and sparked a melee on the sideline. Parades had to be restrained
and escorted from the field.

According to reports from the fourth official on the field, Alas
was shown his second yellow for wearing jewelry, a prohibition put
into force by match commissioners and discussed with both teams
before the game. He will miss tomorrow’s match against
Jamaica in San Salvador .

El Salvador wasted time and played negatively trying to disrupt
the flow of a fitter, bigger and stronger opponent it has not
beaten in 12 years.

The game deteriorated in the 57th minute when goalkeeper Santos
Rivera kicked Beasley in the face after the play was over. That
sparked a brawl between the teams that spilled into the goalmouth
and halted play for several minutes.

“It was not intentional,” Rivera said. “I
didn’t mean to kick him at all.”

The Americans kept their cool and were rewarded with
Donovan’s rocket from the top of the arc.

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