Eddie Johnson’s 60th minute goal, seconds after entering the match, sparked an overwhelming second half effort as the United States blew El Salvador away 5-1 in the Quarterfinals of the Gold Cup today in Baltimore.
A big, loud, pro El Salvador crowd packed into M and T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, but it was the “home” team that struck first. After dominating possession early the Americans worked a clever play from a corner, with Landon Donovan teeing up Clarence Goodson for the opener in the 21st minute.
But El Salvador showed heart, coming straight at the Yanks on a pacey attack, only to be robbed twice by U.S. keeper Nick Rimando. The Americans were having their own trouble putting a second goal past El Salvador’s number 1, with Dagoberto Portillo matching Rimando at the other end. Finally, Joe Corona doubled the U.S. lead on Chris Wondolowski’s assist after 29 minutes, but El Salvador weren’t done just yet.
The U.S. were still looking vulnerable to the counter from the quick El Salvador attackers, in particular Rodolfo Zelaya, when the El Salvador dangerman showed what he is capable of. Zelaya skipped past three U.S. defenders, before DaMarcus Beasley took him down for a deserved penalty. Zelaya calmly chipped his shot straight down the center of the U.S. goal, as Rimando dove to his left, and with 39 minutes gone it was game on.
As the halftime whistle blew, the USMNT went to the locker room hoping that missed goal chances, particularly two from Landon Donovan, wouldn’t be too costly.
Those worries intensified for the U.S.when El Salvador came out flying on the restart led by that man Zelaya. But, slowly the Americans began to match El Salvador and Portillo had to be sharp to stop a blast from Beckerman. Jose Torres earned the U.S. a corner on the hour mark and Klinsmann sent on Eddie Johnson to replace Chris Wondolowski. As Johnson jogged on, his blond do’ with a lightning strike was an eye catcher. Still, he eluded the attentions of the El Salvador defense to power home a header from Donovan’s corner and the U.S. were off to the races.
With three more goals in the final 30 minutes, the U.S. were playing the game at pace that hat their followers just don’t see from them very often. The speed was evident when Donovan burst past the defense to finally score in the 78th minute, running on to Johnson’s flick of Rimando’s goal kick.
Donovan would add another assist when he fed Mix Diskerud in the 84th minute as the Americans swarmed Portillo’s goal. Donovan was fantastic today, let down only by his shooting touch, running at the defense all day, picking out pass after pass and racking up three assists to go with that goal.
The Americans kept pressing for more and came close several times. Donovan was pelted by debris as he tried to take a late corner kick, perhaps fueling the U.S. to look for more goals.
Now the U.S. head to Dallas for the semifinal where they will face the winner of tonight’s late game between Costa Rica and Honduras. Eddie Johnson was big for the U.S. , even discounting the goal. His speed, combined with Donovan’s, left the El Salvador defense in tatters and when Brek Shea came on it got even worse for El Salvador.
Today’s win is number nine in a row for the U.S. who head to Wednesday’s semifinal on a goal scoring rampage that has seen the Yanks outscore opponents 16-3 so far in the Gold Cup.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 3 5
SLV 1 0 1
USA – Clarence Goodson (Landon Donovan) 21st minute
USA – Joe Corona (Chris Wondolowski) 29
SLV – Rodolfo Zelaya (penalty kick) 39
USA – Eddie Johnson (Landon Donovan) 60
USA – Landon Donovan (Eddie Johnson) 78
USA – Mix Diskerud (Landon Donovan) 84
USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 15-Michael Parkhurst, 25-Matt Besler (4-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 75), 21-Clarence Goodson, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (capt.); 14-Kyle Beckerman, 8-Mix Diskerud; 6-Joe Corona, 16-Jose Torres (23-Brek Shea, 66), 10-Landon Donovan; 19-Chris Wondolowski (26-Eddie Johnson, 60)
Substitutions Not Used: 2-Edgar Castillo, 11-Stuart Holden, 12-Sean Johnson,13-Tony Beltran, 17-Will Bruin, 20-Alejandro Bedoya,22-Bill Hamid, 27-Alan Gordon
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
SLV: 1-Dagoberto Portillo; 2-Moises Garcia, 3-Victor Turcios, 23-Jose Henriquez, 16-Marcelo Posadas; 12-Andres Flores, 6-Richard Menjivar, 7-Darwin Ceren, 8-William Romero (9-Rafael Burgos, 46); 17-Mark Blanco (10-Kevin Santamaria, 46), 11-Rodolfo Zelaya (19-Gerson Mayen, 73)
Subs not used: 4-Steven Purdy, 5-Jose Granadino, 13-Alexander Larin, 14-Dustin Corea, 15-Darwin Bonilla, 18-Benji Villalobos, 20-Josue Flores, 21-Nestor Renderos, 22-Derby Carrillo
Head Coach: Alberto Agustin Castillo
USA – Clarence Goodson (caution) 15th minute
SLV – Darwin Ceren (caution) 68