Rafael Marquez: El Salvador is the toughest place to play in CONCACAF

The New York Red Bulls defender knows about how difficult it is to win in San Salvador, as Mexico won in the Cuscatlán for the second time in 15 years on Tuesday.
Rafael Marquez is keenly aware of how difficult it is to play in El Salvador.

El Tri's skipper was part of the 2009 team that came back to Mexico with a 2-1 loss on their shoulders in the midst of an acute crisis before the 2010 World Cup.

The same fixture in 2014 World Cup qualifying reversed the score, with Hector Moreno notching the winner with 10 minutes to go. Still, the former Barcelona defender called San Salvador "toughest place to play in CONCACAF."

"Whoever's been there and seen how intense a game can be for Mexico can tell you. [The atmosphere] is perhaps what pressures you the most, what's most impressive about playing there," Marquez told El Universal.

Jose Manuel de la Torre, Mexico's coach, has played down the rivalry that grabbed headlines in both El Salvador in Mexico, famously telling reporters that El Salvador fans chanting and causing noise for the sleeping players on Monday was nothing more than "a lullaby" for El Tri.

Marquez credited the coach for instilling a new mentality.

"There's a new coaching staff now. They're letting them work and they're trying to make history, as are the players," Marquez said.

De la Torre's methods appear to be working, with Mexico nabbing a critical win Tuesday night.

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