Landon Donovan led the way with two goals and an assist as the U.S. roared into Sunday’s Gold Cup Final in Chicago, dominating Honduras in a 3-1 victory at Cowboy Stadium in Texas.
With the U.S. controlling the game early, the breakthrough came in the 11th minute on a gem of a goal from Eddie Johnson. Donovan and Johnson were in perfect synch as EJ ran onto a delicate Donovan flick and in alone on goal, took his time and finished beautifully.
Honduras were playing defensively from the start and that defense included some very physical/dirty tactics. Jose Torres was an early target, and he grew frustrated by Costa Rican referee Walter Quesada’s inaction.
The Yanks were favored coming in and played with confidence, running at Honduras all game long. The inevitable second goal came when Eddie Johnson headed keeper Nick Rimando’s goal kick on to Alejandro Bedoya. Bedoya, a surprise starter over Joe Corona, picked out Donovan with a first time pass and L.D. buried his chance.
A third goal before the half seemed likely and would have killed the game, but it didn’t come. Leading 2-0 after the break, an old bugaboo struck the Americans, when Honduras struck for a set piece goal in the 52nd minute. DaMarcus Beasley committed a bad foul, reminding us that as a midfielder, he is still learning the art of defense.
As well as the U.S. have played in this Gold Cup, they have been vulnerable on corner and free kicks. On this occasion Nery Medina was left all alone in front of goal and easily beat Rimando.
But the suddenly free scoring U.S. answered swiftly, and it was Donovan and Corona combining again. Clarence Goodson got it started with a good entry pass to find Bedoya. Bedoya picked out Donovan, who had wriggled free right on the Honduras doorstep. Donovan finished easily and the U.S. were back in charge.
From that point on the game degenerated into a brutal spectacle fueled by a frustrated Honduras hacking away at the Americans with little to no action taken by Quesada.
Perhaps the most egregious example of Quesada’s abdication of his duty came in the 85th minute when Chris Wondolowski was fouled twice on one play in the box. Wondo kept his feet, and no call was forthcoming.
Moments later Klinsmann was ejected from the match and will miss the final. Klinsmann was reacting to the latest in a series of blatant fouls on Beasley when he was booted.
Still it was a good night for the Americans. Clarence Goodson and Bedoya both rewarded Klinsmann for his confidence with good performances. Goodson got the nod over Omar Gonzalez, and his passing out of defense was excellent. Bedoya assisted on both of Donovan’s goals as part of an outstanding overall performance.
Johnson and Donovan formed a dangerous partnership up front, while Holden and Bekerman bossed the middle of the narrow field, with Torres and Bedoya running wild on the wings. That field was an issue with a lot of slipping throughout.
Now it’s on to Chicago as the U.S. take on the winner of the late game between Mexico and Panama. The U.S. have won 10 straight now and will be favored in the final, where they would surely love to get a crack at Mexico, who have beaten the Americans in consecutive Gold Cup Finals.
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Honduras
Date: July 24, 2013
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup – Semifinal
Venue: Cowboys Stadium – Dallas, Texas
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
HON 0 1 1
USA – Eddie Johnson (Landon Donovan) 11th minute
USA –Landon Donovan (Alejandro Bedoya) 27
HON – Nery Medina (Marvin Chavez) 52
USA – Landon Donovan (Alejandro Bedoya) 53
USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 15-Michael Parkhurst, 25-Matt Besler, 21-Clarence Goodson, 7-DaMarcus Beasley (capt.); 14-Kyle Beckerman (8-Mix Diskerud, 67), 11-Stuart Holden; 20-Alejandro Bedoya, 10-Landon Donovan (19-Chris Wondolowski, 72), 16-Jose Torres (23-Brek Shea, 67); 26-Eddie Johnson
Substitutions Not Used: 2-Edgar Castillo, 4-Michael Orozco Fiscal, 6-Joe Corona,12-Sean Johnson,13-Tony Beltran, 17-Will Bruin, 22-Bill Hamid, 24-Omar Gonzalez, 27-Alan Gordon
Head coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
HON: 22-Donis Escobar; 3-Brayan Beckeles, 2-Osman Chavez (capt.), 13-Nery Medina, 6-Juan Carlos Garcia; 23-Edder Delgado, 20-Jorge Claros, 16-Alexander Lopez (9-Jerry Palacios, 46); 14-Andy Najar, 21-Roger Rojas (11-Rony Martinez, 69), 7-Diego Reyes (17-Marvin Chavez, 46)
Subs not used: 1-Jose Mendoza, 5-Jose Velasquez, 8-Gerson Rodas, 10-Mario Martinez, 12-Orlin Peralta, 15-Mario Berrios, 18-Kevin Hernandez, 19-Wilmer Fuentes, 24-Erick Norales
Head Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 18 / 11
Shots on Goal: 5 / 2
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 2
Fouls: 13 / 18
Offside: 3 / 0
USA – Eddie Johnson (caution) 90+2 minute
Referee: Walter Quesada (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavio Jara (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Fourth Official: Jeffery Solis (CRC)