The formula for qualifying for the World Cup is very simple: win at home, tie on the road. In the first two games of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying the US has done just that. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the US tied an overmatched, domestic-based El Salvador team Saturday night. Playing at the bandbox Estadio Cuscatlán in San Salvador, El Salvador, buoyed by a raucous capacity crowd, began the game flying. The US was unable to match their energy and went down early on a goal that resulted from sloppy defending and a nice combination by two attacking Salvadoran players at the top of the 18. For all but maybe the last 15 minutes of the match the US was second best on loose balls and challenges, losing out to physically and technically inferior players. The US passing was terribly off; most one-touch passes and flicks did not find their way to the intended target. The players looked uncomfortable with and unfamiliar to each other. Perhaps it was the noise in the stadium. After the game Landon Donovan, the leading capwinner on the team, said it was as loud a game as he’s been in in Central America. Defender Dan Califf, who filled in for an injured Oguchi Onyewu, said he could not communicate with anyone who was more than 10 feet away. In addition to missing Onyewu, goalkeeper Brad Guzan was playing instead of starter Tim Howard who was suspended for yellow card accumulation. On the road in Central America is not where you want to be forced into changing your lineup. Regardless, the coordination should have been better.