COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ali Gerba scored for the second straight game and Canada strengthened its hold on Group A of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 1-0 win over El Salvador on Tuesday.
Defender Manuel Salazar headed the ball out of the penalty area, but it fell to the feet of Canada's Patrice Bernier, who fired toward goal, leaving Gerba to deflect the ball past goalkeeper Miguel Montes in the 32nd minute.
The goal was Gerba's fifth in his last four games for Canada, but did little to dim the enthusiasm of a crowd largely supportive of El Salvador and determined to enjoy the Cuscatlecos' first visit to Crew Stadium. El Salvador (1-1-0) will play a decisive game against Jamaica on Friday as it seeks to advance to the quarterfinals. Canada (2-0-0) faces Costa Rica needing only a tie to advance, although Canada coach Stephen Hart said angling for the draw is not in his game plan.
"I think it's always dangerous to play for a tie," said Hart, who has won his first four games since taking charge of the team in April. "You want to play for a result, and if the game ties, the game ties."
Will Johnson barely missed capitalizing on a long spell of possession by Canada when his low shot from the right side of the net got past Montes but rolled past the left goalpost in the 72nd minute.
Canada's defense smothered El Salvador's attackers throughout the final quarter of the game, conceding virtually no good scoring opportunities.
"Canada definitely played well, because they were able to hold," said El Salvador coach Carlos de los Cobos.
Canada's Paul Stalteri was shown a yellow card in the 63rd minute for his foul against Osael Romero. Teammate Mike Klukowski was carded in the 86th minute.