BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, July 21, 2013
In front of a hostile crowd, U.S team put on a dominant showing against El Salvador to advance to the semifinals of the Gold Cup.
The U.S team controlled the game from the start but struggled to capitalize on its numerous opportunities. The game should have been a rout early but it wasn't until the second half when the Americans put the game away.
Donovan put on a spectacular performance and he looks as dominant as he did in 2009. In addition, players like Joe Corona and Mix Diskerud continued to make strong cases to be with the team when World Cup qualifying resumes in September.
The U.S will face Honduras on Wednesday and the team should feel very prepared to continue its dominance in the tournament.
Nick Rimando: In the 26th minute, Rimando came up with a pair of incredible saves on a single sequence that set the tone of the match. After that he continued to play with confidence and was a presence guarding the net. His defense let him down conceding the penalty. Rating: 7.5
Michael Parkhurst: It has been an ongoing theme for Parkhurst this tournament that he is certainly competent defensively but lacks the final ball to be a true threat offensively. Aside from a great pass playing Donovan into the box on the short corner for the opening goal, Parkhurst wasn't as involved offensively from the run of play. Rating: 5.5
Matt Besler: In his first game back with the national team, Besler was solid in defense and was very solid passing out of the back. He was one of several players victimized by Rodolfo Zelaya on the play where he drew the penalty. Still, it was solid performance for Besler and he will be a welcome addition to team in the semifinals and perhaps the finals. Rating 6.5
Clarence Goodson: There were a few moments where he looked shaky defensively but there is no question that this has been a good tournament for the former University of Maryland star. His goal was well taken. Rating 6.5
DaMarcus Beasley: It was a rough moment when Beasley was called for a penalty as he was just one of several U.S defenders at fault on the play. He is still a liability at left back and is learning the position but he is dangerous getting forward into the attack. He wasn't on the score sheet against El Salvador but helped stretch the defense and open the middle. Rating: 5.5
Kyle Beckerman: Beckerman enjoyed his best performance for the U.S team in ages against El Salvador. His passing was efficient and effective. Defensively, he was a presence breaking up several of El Salvador's attacks. He hit several dangerous shots from distance.Rating: 7.0
Joe Corona: With a spectacular goal in the 29th minute, Corona silenced the pro-El Salvadorian crowd. He is very good in tight spaces and the move leading up to the goal showcased his talents. His defense should not be overlooked either. He forced several turnovers that limited the El Salvadorian attack. He worked hard. Rating: 6.5
Jose Torres: For the second straight game, Torres put on a strong performance where he linked up well with his teammates and helped in possession. His pace may limit his ability to be an effective winger against top competition, but when the Americans have more skill than their opponents, Torres is the type of player who will help the team dictate the pace of the game. Rating: 6.0
Mix Diskerud: Diskerud's breakout tournament at the Gold Cup continued as he was a near perfect fit in controlling the center of the field. He looked hungry in the final third and was a big part of why the American team had the decisive edge in talent. His first goal for the U.S team in a meaningful competition was simply an added bonus Rating: 6.5
Landon Donovan: What else can be said about Donovan? He has 55 career assists and 54 career goals for the U.S team. Since he returned from his sabbatical, he has five goals and seven assists in just five games. Against El Salvador he dominated the game in a way a dominant player should with three assists and a goal. He always found his way in every attack and he looks happy to be back with the team. Once he's back and fully integrated with the full team, the U.S team should feel good about where it stands a year out from the World Cup. Rating: 8.5 and Man of the Match
Chris Wondolowski: After rolling against weaker competition earlier in the tournament, Wondolowski is back to struggling again for the U.S team. He should have been able to capitalize against an El Salvadorian team conceding possession and space but did not. He had an assist on Corona's goal but aside from that it was a quiet day. Rating: 4.5
Eddie Johnson: If ever there was a perfect substitute, it was Johnson who came on for Wondolowski and, second later, headed home a goal on his first touch. He then had an assist on Donovan's goal off his head. He can be a great forward in dominating the air. Rating: 7.0
Brek Shea: Was energetic and his speed caused El Salvador problems. The game was already won when he came on but Shea helped to keep up the pressure. Rating: 5.5
Michael Orozco: Orozco came on and really had little impact on a game. El Salvador had already thrown in the towel when he was subbed in. Rating: 5.0
Jurgen Klinsmann: The U.S team was prepared heading into the game and the fact that the crowd was very pro-El Salvador did not affect the team at all. The team was hungry and executed its game plan well. The substitution of Eddie Johnson worked out very well and gave the U.S a needed threat in the air. The team now looks like the overwhelming favorite to win the Gold Cup. Rating: 7.5