MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- DaMarcus Beasley vividly remembers the first time he played a soccer match in El Salvador, in 1999 with the U.S. under-17 team.
"I was taking a corner kick, and one of the fans threw a dead chicken head at my foot, and I looked down, and I was like, 'Whoa," he recalled. "And the whole crowd started laughing. It was pretty crazy, but it's something you experience when you play in those countries."
Beasley and his teammates will be back in San Salvador on Saturday night, when the United States tries to improve to 2-0 in the final round of World Cup qualifying in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
"We're ready. We're prepared. We know what's at stake," said defender Frankie Hejduk, along with Beasley is among four Americans on the current roster to have played in El Salvador. "The crowd's hostile, and we expect nothing less. We've just got to make sure we're playing our game and doing the things that we do right and we'll be all right."
Seeking their sixth straight World Cup berth, the Americans opened the regional finals last month with a 2-0 victory over Mexico at Columbus, Ohio. The U.S. team returns home after the match to play Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday night at Nashville, Tenn.
The U.S. is still without right back Steve Cherundolo, recovering from a strained right hip sustained while playing for Hannover on Jan. 10. Everton's Tim Howard is suspended after getting his second yellow card of qualifying against Mexico, leaving Aston Villa's Brad Guzan to start in goal.
West Ham's Jonathan Spector has returned from a torn labrum in his right hip, giving Heath Pearce competition at left back.
El Salvador opened by rallying from a two-goal deficit for a 2-2 tie at home against T&T. U.S. captain Beasley stressed that the Americans must be sure not to get distracted by the crowd or poor field conditions.
"Obviously, you want to get at least one point and it's something we are striving for, but with our mentality and the way we play football we always want to go for three points," Beasley said. "We don't go down there looking for a draw; we go down there looking for a win, and at the end of the game if we get one point, that's great."