The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to its ninth CONCACAF Gold Cup Final and will be shooting for its fifth title following a 3-1 semifinal victory against Honduras at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas Wednesday night.
Landon Donovan scored twice and assisted on Eddie Johnson’s opening goal to lead the Americans to their fifth straight Gold Cup Final appearance.
With the victory, the USA increased its record winning streak to 10 games, three more than its previous high of seven straight wins accomplished in 2007. The USA also improved to 11-2-2 in 2013.
The U.S. now faces Panama, a 2-1 winner over Mexico on Wednesday, in the Gold Cup Championship Game on Sunday, July 28, at Soldier Field in Chicago. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. Eastern Time and will be broadcast live on FOX and Univision.
The USA previously won the tournament in 1991, 2002, 2005 and 2007. With four runner-up finishes, the U.S. has now reached the championship game in nine of the 12 editions of the Gold Cup. Only three countries have won the tournament, with Mexico leading the way with six championships and Canada earning the 2003 title.
Former Clemson standout Stuart Holden started and went the distance in the U.S. midfield.
The USA put the pressure on Honduras early and got on the score sheet first in just the 11th minute. Clarence Goodson threaded a pass Donovan just past the center circle and one-touched a perfect pass into the path of Johnson, who took two excellent touches of his own at high speed to stay ahead of the chasing Honduras defenders before spinning a well-struck right-footed shot past goalkeeper sliding goalkeeper Donis Escobar.
It was the seventh assist of the tournament for Donovan, who playing in his 150th career game. His seven assists in 2013 also tie his highest total for a calendar year, trailing only his record-setting 10-assist performance in 2009. He also increased his U.S. record total to 55 career assists.
It was Johnson’s 17th career goal, moving him into a seventh-place tie with Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley and Earnie Stewart.
The USA doubled its lead in the 27th minute after Johnson headed a long ball down the right side to Alejandro Bedoya who out-hustled his defender to win the ball and lifted a pass to Donovan inside the penalty area. With a perfectly-fluid finish, the USA’s all-time leading scorer brought the ball down with his chest and then deftly flicked a sublime half-volley with his right foot past the stranded Escobar to make it 2-0.
Nery Medina got Honduras back into the match in the 52nd minute, pounding home a header from a Marvin Chavez free kick from the right side, but the USA immediately answered back. In the 53rd minute, defender Clarence Goodson sent a long ball that led Bedoya into the right side of the penalty box. With Donovan making a hard and unmarked run straight up the middle, Bedoya found him with a short cross in the air and Donovan touched the ball into the open net from close range.
The match featured more than a few chippy tackles from Honduras and in the 87th minute U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was sent off by referee Enrico Wijngaarde after DaMarcus Beasley was fouled hard at the near sideline.
• Landon Donovan is the only player on the USA’s Gold Cup roster to have started in all five matches during this year’s tournament, and he had played 432 straight minutes before being subbed out by Chris Wondolowski in the 72nd minute. He now has 33 career Gold Cup appearances.
• Donovan has at least one assist in three straight games and with an assist in the championship game would match the U.S. record of four, set by Donovan on two previous occasions in 2004 and 2009.
• Donovan now has 18 career Gold Cup goals, seven goals in 2013 to lead the team and increased his U.S. MNT career record to 56 goals.
• Along with its overall winning streak, the USA will have a chance to tie its U.S. home record winning streak of 10, which was set from June 15, 2008, through July 11, 2009.
• Alejandro Bedoya’s two assists were the first two of his international career.
• Captain DaMarcus Beasley made his 108th career appearance, moving within two of sixth-place Carlos Bocanegra and Paul Caligiuri (110 caps each).
• Nick Rimando became the fifth U.S. goalkeeper in the modern era to post five victories during a calendar year, improving to 5-0-0 in 2013. The other four goalkeepers to earn five or more wins in a year are: Tim Howard (five times), Kasey Keller (four times), Tony Meola (four times) and Troy Perkins (one time).
• Jurgen Klinsmann made three starting lineup changes from the USA’s quarterfinal victory against El Salvador on July 21. Midfielders Stuart Holden and Alejandro Bedoya earned the start ahead of Mix Diskerud and Joe Corona, while forward Eddie Johnson got the call ahead of Chris Wondolowski to play up front in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Honduras.
• The winner of the 2013 Gold Cup will qualify for a playoff against the winner of the 2015 tournament to determine the CONCACAF entrant in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
• The U.S. moved to 14-4-3 all-time against Honduras and 11-2-2 against Honduras on U.S. soil.
• Honduras is one of only two teams to have beaten the United States this year, along with Belgium. Honduras rallied for a 2-1 victory against the U.S. on Feb. 6 in San Pedro Sula. It was the teams’ first meeting in the Final Round of 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying. Clint Dempsey had the USA’s lone goal to give his side a 1-0 lead.
• Wednesday’s match marked the fourth time the U.S. and Honduras have met in the knockout phase of the Gold Cup. The United States down Honduras in penalties after a scoreless draw to capture the inaugural championship in 1991. The USA earned 2-1 semifinal victories against Honduras in 2005 and 2009.
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-
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 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+2nd minute
Referee: Walter Quesada (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Octavio Jara (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Fourth Official: Jeffery Solis (CRC)