David Rugamas scored a pair of first-half goals, California-born Joshua Pérez added another and El Salvador won 4-0 at St. Kitts and Nevis on Saturday, moving into commanding position to advance in World Cup qualifying.
The United States will be the opponent for the winner of the total-goals, second-round matchup when the final round of World Cup qualifying starts on Sept. 2. It will be the first 14 games for the teams in the final round.
No. 69 El Salvador hosts the second leg against St. Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday. The game against the U.S. will be a home contest for the team that advances.
Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras and Jamaica also are in the eight-nation final round of the North and Central American region.
Rugamas scored in the third and 27th minutes. Pérez, a 23-year-old born in Montebello, California, scored in the 20th.
Joshua Pérez played for the U.S. alongside Christian Pulisic at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup. He switched to El Salvador’s under-23 team this year and made his senior national team debut on June 5.
Joshua Pérez is a nephew of Hugo Pérez, a former U.S. national team player who took over as El Salvador’s national team coach in April.
Darwin Cerén of the Houston Dynamo converted a penalty kick in the 64th minute against 135th-ranked St. Kitts.
In first-leg matches later Saturday, No. 70 Canada played 83rd-ranked Haiti in Port-au-Prince, and No. 78 Panama hosted No. 76 Curaçao in Panama City.
Canada’s second leg against Haiti on Wednesday will be played at Bridgeview, Illinois, because of Canadian government coronavirus travel restrictions.
The top three CONCACAF teams qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar, and the fourth-place team advances to a playoff.