The pressure was on for the U.S. men’s national team to qualify for the FIFA 1990 World Cup which eventually went down to the last match after the U.S. and El Salvador played to a 0-0 draw on this day in soccer history in 1989.
The Red, White and Blue entered the penultimate match in World Cup qualifying for the 1990 World Cup against the Cuscutlecos needing three points to earn a berth to make it to Italy (at the time teams were awarded two points for a win and 1 point for a tie).
And the team fully expected that two of those points needed to come from the match against El Salvador on home soil in St Louis.
”We are focused on getting 2 points from this game before we can think about anything else,” head coach Bob Gansler said prior to the match.
The U.S. was confident having defeated El Salvador two month earlier in qualification but were without Hugo Perez, who is nursing a leg injury in France, and Peter Vermes, sick with the chickenpox.
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The U.S. controlled much of the match, out-shooting the visitors 12-5, but could not find a goal that extended the U.S.’ scoreless streak to 208 minutes.
With the draw the U.S. and Trinidad were tied for second place with nine points each but the USA trailed in goal difference, the first tiebreaker, +2 to +3 and set up Caligiuri’s ‘shot heard around the world.’
1938 – César Luis Menotti, Argentine footballer
1952 – Oleg Blokhin, Ukrainian footballer
1962 – Abédi Pelé, Ghanaian footballer
1966 – Nayim, Spanish footballer
1971 – Rob Jones, English footballer
1974 – Dado Pršo, Croatian footballer
1977 – Richard Wright, English footballer
1980 – Christoph Metzelder, German footballer
1981 – Paul Chapman, Australian footballer
1983 – Mike Hanke, German footballer
1986 – Kasper Schmeichel, Danish footballer
2007 – Nils Liedholm, Swedish football midfielder and coach (b. 1922)