Toronto FC defender Eriq Zavaleta's career is going to take an interesting turn on Wednesday night, as he'll be part of the visiting team at BMO Field when Canada hosts El Salvador in a Concacaf World Cup qualifying match.
Zavaleta, a 29-year-old from Indiana, is a former U.S. youth international who made his debut for El Salvador back in June. Since then, he's scored one goal in 10 appearances for Los Cuzcatlecos, and started in the team's pair of 0-0 draws against the United States and Honduras at Estadio Cuscatlan in San Salvador to open their World Cup qualifying campaign. El Salvador qualified for the World Cup in 1970 and 1982, and like Canada is trying to get back there after a lengthy absence under Hugo Perez, a former U.S. international who took over the coaching reins in April.
Zavaleta, who qualifies for El Salvador through his father Carlos, also featured for his adopted homeland at this summer's Gold Cup, helping them reach the quarter-finals. He's quickly established himself as a starter alongside fellow centre back Ronald Rodriguez, and fullbacks Alexander Larin and Bryan Tamacas, and has even wore the captains's armband.
In this one-on-one interview with TFC Republic, Zavaleta discusses El Salvador's World Cup qualifying campaign thus far, Wednesday's crucial match against Canada, and what it might be like for him to play on "enemy territory" at BMO Field.