BRIAN SCIARETTA - Sunday, July 21, 2013
The U.S team advanced to the semifinals of the 2013 Gold Cup after a masterful performance from Landon Donovan lifted his team past El Salvador.
Playing in front of a mostly hostile crowd of 71,000 in Baltimore, the U.S team controlled the game from the start against dominating possession and creating numerous chances.
The U.S team finally broke through in the 21st minute off a play from a short corner. After being played down the right side by Michael Parkhurst, Donovan sent a perfect cross to Clarence Goodson who was open in front of the goal for an easy finish.
In the 29th minute, the U.S team doubled its lead on a terrific play from Joe Corona who took a short pass from Chris Wondolowski and dribbled well in a tight space to create an open shot from 20 yards. The Club Tijuana midfielder made no mistake with the finish firing a shot past Dagoberto Portillo for a 2-0 lead.
The U.S continued to squander several chances and El Salvador took advantage in cutting the deficit in half on a terrific individual play from Rodolfo Zelaya. In a rare El Salvadorian attack, Zelaya dribbled through the box getting past Clarence Goodson and Matt Besler. The last defender across the goal was DaMarcus Beasley who fouled Zelaya and was called for a penalty. On the ensuing kick, Zelaya sent a soft chip past Rimando who guessed early.
I the second half, the U.S began to retake control of the game and it was Eddie Johnson who made use of his dominance in the air just second after coming into the game. Once again, the U.S took a short corner and Donovan swung a ball in that found Johnson in the box who headed the ball past a helpless Portllo for a 3-1 lead.
Donovan finally got onto the scoring action in the 78th minute when Rimando cleared the ball up filed and Johnson won the 50-50 ball. With a quick header, Johnson found a streaking Donovan who moved into the box, dribbled around Portillo and sent a shot into the open net for a 4-1 advantage.
With El Salvador having given up, Mix Diskerud scored his first goal of the tournament when he headed home a cross from Donovan to finish the scoring at 5-1.
The game was a statement from Landon Donovan who has been outstanding in his return to the U.S team. In his five games this month, he has five goals and seven goals. In his career with the U.S team he how has a staggering 54 goals, 55 assists in 149 caps.
The U.S team will now face Honduras in the semifinals in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday.