U.S. defeats Honduras, advances to Gold Cup final
Dallas, TX — 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.
Landon Donovan scored twice and assisted on Eddie Johnson's opening goal to lead the Americans to their fifth straight Gold Cup Final appearance.
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.
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 the winner of Wednesday night's late semifinal matchup between Panama and Mexico in the Gold Cup Championship Game on Sunday, July 28, at Soldier Field in Chicago. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on FOX and Univision. Fans can follow on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer.
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.
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.