Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
U.S. understudies book a date with Mexico
by Ridge Mahoney, July 24th, 2009 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[GOLD CUP]As it proved during the Confederations Cup, the U.S. team can seldom handle a burden of several players laboring through below-par performances. It has individuals capable of electrifying moments, but must rely on capable displays throughout the lineup to attain true success.

Shorn of its most dynamic personalities for the Concacaf Gold Cup semifinal against Honduras at Soldier Field in Chicago on Thursday, it prevailed, 2-0, with a few spectacular sequences and a nearly unbroken succession of solid stretches.

Clarence Goodsonheaded home a corner kick in the final seconds of first-half regulation time, and Kenny Cooperpolished off a point-blank chance in the 90th minute to propel the Americans into their third consecutive Gold Cup final, and seventh since the competition came into its present form in 1991. The USA plays Mexico -- which beat Costa Rica on penalties, 5-3, following a 1-1 tie -- at Giants Stadium Sunday (3 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Univision) for the title.

A strong start, unlike its poor beginnings in many games the past two months, enabled the U.S. to knock Honduras off-stride and disrupt attempts to establish tempo and rhythm. It created a few early chances - Jay Heapssent a torpedo diving header wide in the first minute, Brian Ching headed high on a Robbie Rogers cross - and stuck resolutely to its task of moving the ball efficiently even when the shots didn't go in.

Central midfielders Logan Pause and Kyle Beckerman were cautioned in the first half; the call on Beckerman seemed a dubious one, and a few rough Honduran fouls seemed intended to provoke a scuffle and perhaps a second yellow. But so infrequently did Honduras threaten the American midfielders and defenders won the ball through patience and decisive interventions at the proper time.

Honduras took most of their 10 shots from a considerable distance, and when its efforts tested keeper Troy Perkins, he came up shining. He flailed a shot off the crossbar with his fingertips after Marvin Chavez cut inside left back Heath Pearceto hit a dipping shot, and in the final minutes and the USA clinging to a 1-0 lead, he came out strongly yet under control to form a solid block from whichCarlos Costly's shot rebounded away. When Costly chased down the carom to shoot again, Heaps raced across to snuff that effort as well.

The positioning and spacing of the forward and midfield lines channeled the Hondurans into double-teams and straight-up tackles they seldom won. Chad Marshall and Goodson repelled the high balls that Perkins couldn't reach, and the keeper reacted sharply to pounce on the few through balls that presented any danger. Walter Martinezworked both flanks in an effort to support forwards Costly and Carlos Mejia, but the latter never got into gear and Costly often ran out of options and space.

Pivoting off the central pair of Pause and Beckerman, Stuart Holden and Rogers dominated on the flanks. Holden assisted on both goals; his corner to Goodson highlighted several excellent deliveries on set plays; for the second goal he prompted an exchange of passes on the left flank, and then collected a clever back heel from Ching to center a pass that was easier for Cooper to score than to miss.

The Americans didn't need much luck but got some anyway. Though Honduras had some stretches of possession, rarely did anything threatening result, and the occasional funny bounce favored the Americans. Midway through the second half, Martinez hit a through ball with the U.S. back line retreating and spread out; as Goodson eyed his man and not the ball, it hit him on the leg. Problem solved.

July 23 in Chicago
USA 2 Honduras 0.Goals: Goodson 45+, Cooper 90.
USA --Perkins, Heaps, C.Marshall, Goodson, Pearce, Holden, Pause, Beckerman, Rogers (Quaranta, 75), Ching, Arnaud (Cooper, 86)
Honduras --Escober, Norales, Acevedo, O.Chavez (Welcome, 86), Medina;. C.Palacios, W.Martinez (Espinoza, 80), M.Valladares (Lalin, 90), M.Chavez, Costly, Mejia,
Yellow Cards:USA -- Pause 38, Beckerman 48, Arnaud 75; Honduras -- Costly 77.
Referee:Courtney Campbell (Jamaica).

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Sunil Gulati    
"Our base-line [for average attendance] was 30,000; 35,000 would've been great, and 40,000 beyond our wildest ...
What They're Saying: Investment banker Keith Harris    
"It was a shock result. There are four players that we can reflect on and the ...
What They're Saying: Megan Rapinoe    
"Gay bars are so important for me and my community. That could have been me. That ...
What They're Saying: Gudmundur Benediktsson    
"It's been quite strange and actually hectic because the phone hasn't stopped ringing. But I'm really ...
MLS: Top fives in Fan XI voting remain steady    
The MLS All-Star Game will be played July 28 in San Jose and every few days ...
MLS Countdown: Rivals wrap up season series early    
The MLS campaign has yet to reach its midpoint yet already teams are facing each other ...
USA-Colombia: Lots at stake in third-place game    
The USA must quickly get back in the saddle after its disastrous semifinal against Argentina when ...
U.S. women: Crunch time to get down to 18    
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis has recalled injured stars Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, ...
Video Pick: 90 seconds of Messi Magic    
The folks at Fox Soccer created a 90-second montage of Lionel Messi's best touches in Argentina's ...
NASL: Kranjcar leaves Cosmos for Rangers    
Croatian midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who played seven NASL spring season games after joining the New York ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives