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USA recalls Parkhurst for semifinal
by Ridge Mahoney, July 21st, 2009 7AM
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[GOLD CUP] Back and forth they go, and where it stops, nobody knows. Defender Michael Parkhurst, released from the U.S. Gold Cup team last week to attend preseason training in Denmark, has been recalled as cover for Jimmy Conrad, who suffered a possible concussion against Panama in a hard collision Saturday and left the match shortly before halftime.

Conrad had started in central defense alongside Chad Marshall, and was replaced by former Dallas defender Clarence Goodson of Norwegian club IK Start. The severity of his concussion was diagnosed as "moderate" by doctors who examined him in hospital and he is being monitored.

Parkhurst came on as a sub in the Gold Cup opener against Grenada and played the full 90 minutes against Honduras and Haiti in the remaining group games. He was suspended for the quarterfinal against Panama and joined the team Monday after its training session.

Also summoned was Chicago Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch, who arrived in time to train Monday. He takes the spot vacated by Kaiserslautern keeper Luis Robles, who has left to begin preparations for the German season. Barring a change in plans, Busch will leave the U.S. team Friday to play for Fire against Toronto on Saturday, and is scheduled to return for Sunday's final at the Meadowlands if the Americans advance.

The USA plays Honduras again in the semifinals Thursday at Soldier Field, the same venue for their meeting June 3 in game four of the Hexagonal competition from which three teams qualify automatically for the 2010 World Cup. The Americans won that match, 2-1, and also beat Honduras, 2-0, two weeks ago in Gold Cup group play at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

In its quarterfinal match, played in Philadelphia prior to the USA-Panama game, Honduras scraped past Canada, 1-0, on a questionable penalty kick converted by Walter Martinez. The Hondurans withstood a late Canadian flurry during which a shot came back off the woodwork to reach the semifinals.

"They play hard and have a good group of players," says U.S. coach Bob Bradley of Honduras, which hasn't beaten the USA since an historic 3-2 victory at RFK in a qualifier eight years ago. "You can tell in this tournament the group they have has put a lot in to it, so we expect a hard game.

"In the first game in D.C. we had a good finish to the match after a tough 65 or 70 minutes. That says a lot about their organization and their discipline and we'd expect another difficult game."

Though Honduras played its quarterfinal on the same day as the USA, it didn't have to play 30 minutes of overtime. Bradley has parceled out playing time in the four Gold Cup games played so far amongst many players and along with decisions regarding Conrad, will have to factor fatigue into his selections for Thursday.

Most of the U.S. players finished far more strongly than did those of Panama, but recovery can be a whole different scenario. Those who played Saturday went through a light training session on Monday, and aside from Conrad, no injuries have been reported.

"It's going to be another tough one," says midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who tied the Panama match with a spectacular 25-yard blast early in the second half and played the entire 120 minutes. "This definitely took a lot out of us and I don't think many of us have played an overtime match in awhile.

"We're going to have to really recover quick and get right back to preparing for what will be a really tough game against a team looking for revenge."

 



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