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Game Thread: Canada vs. El Salvador

Follow along as Canada opens the 2015 Gold Cup looking to build on recent success in World Cup qualifiers and friendlies.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Canada vs. El Salvador

10:30 PM Eastern

StubHub Center Los Angeles, California

Sportsnet 360 & World

The Headliner: Getting things started off on the right foot.

This might be the most important game of the 2015 Gold Cup for the Canadian team as it will set the tone for the games ahead. If they can get a victory it sets them up well to get out of their group, likely in an advantageous position. If they lose or draw they are going to be in tough to get the points they need against Jamaica and Costa Rica.

A variety of opinions exist about where Canada will finish in this tournaments, but most will agree that this is the team's most winnable match of the tournament. That's not to say El Salvador is an easy opponent, but are not nearly as talented as the Reggae Boyz and Los Ticos or an opponent Canada will play in the knockout stage.

El Salvador is ranked 89th in the World: 20 spots above Canada putting them 9th in CONCACAF. Canada  is 13th. Unlikely Canada, they come into this tournament struggling. Outside of a pair of World Cup qualifiers against St. Kitts and Nevis they have not scored this year. They have only won once in that time.

Darwin Ceren is the only MLS player on the roster as a teammate of Cyle Larin with Orlando City. Beyond that there a couple of other players to watch. Defender Alexander Larin, no relation, has been turning heads at 23 in Mexico and has already earned 24 caps. For goals the team will rely on Rafael Burgos who plays in Norway for Fredrikstad.

Key to the Match: Leading the Line

Canada did not score a single goal at the last CONCACAF Gold Cup, largely seen as a transitional period for the program. This year they come in with a lot more confidence, a many more options up front.

For once, Canada could actually be considered one of the best offensive teams in the tournament in terms of the goalscoring potential they have up top. While Cyle Larin and Tesho Akindele are young, they have already shown their ability to contribute at the national team level.

Along with Tosaint Ricketts they form the trio that represents Canada's attack, and will be crucial to what the team is able to accomplish at this tournament. Under manager Benito Floro Canada have proven that they are a difficult team to break down defensively, but the offense hasn't always been consistent.

The Lineup:

In goal Kenny Stamatopolous will be given the start as was expected with starter Milan Borjan declining the Gold Cup call. Marcel de Jong steps in for Ashtone Morgan at left back and will bring some attacking flair down the wings to the Canadian lineup. Kyle Bekker is the biggest surprise in the linuep as the FC Dallas midfielder has only started twice this season for his club.