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Donovan celebrates return with two goals
by Paul Kennedy, July 6th, 2013 12:29AM

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TAGS:  men's national team

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[USA-GUATEMALA] If the USA was looking for an opponent to replicate what it should expect when it faces Central American minnow Belize in its Gold Cup opener, Guatemala, far weakened from the team it met in the semifinal round of World Cup 2014 qualifying, fit the bill. The Americans cruised to a 6-0 win that featured five goals in the second half, including two from Landon Donovan in his first international match in almost 11 months.

Donovan started the game on the right side of midfield with Joe Corona playing in midfield behind Herculez Gomez, but the U.S. attack came to life when Donovan moved into the middle.

His two goals were the 50th and 51st of his career, making him the first U.S. player to reach and pass the half-century mark.

VIDEO:
Gomez goal: 42nd minute
Donovan goal #1: 55th minute
Wondolowski goal: 71st minute
Donovan goal #2: 72nd minute
Goodson goal: 84th minute
Bedoya goal: 88th minute

FOCUS ON MIDFIELD. The first half saw Kyle Beckerman and Jose Torres run the midfield, and Torres played the ball that Gomez put away for the opening goal just before halftime.

But the USA broke the game open in the second half after Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud entered the game. Holden, in particular, had an excellent game in his longest appearance for the national team since returning in May.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said the team that started against Guatemala should open against Belize, and those in the starting XI did nothing to take themselves out of the picture, but he'll have some thinking to do.

Does he stick with the Beckerman-Torres pair, does he switch to Holden-Diskerud or does he go with a combination of the two?

NIGHT OF FIRSTS. Both Chris Wondolowski and Alejandro Bedoya scored their first goals in international play -- and they won't get easier chances. Clarence Goodson showed off some nifty skills to set up a chance for himself in the second half only to be denied in front of the goal but he put the rebound off the post away with a blast for his fourth goal for the USA.

RARE BLOWOUT. The win, which extended the USA's winning streak to five games, was its most lopsided since an 8-0 victory against Barbados in 2008. It was the biggest win of the Klinsmann era since a 5-1 win over Scotland last year.

THREE XOLOS. All three Tijuana players -- Edgar Castillo, new signing Gomez and local product Corona -- started for the USA. The local angle helped boost the San Diego crowd to more than 25,000 -- a strong showing for a friendly.

NEXT UP.
The USA opens play at the Gold Cup Tuesday against Belize at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Ore. (TV: FOX Soccer, 11 p.m. ET). By then, Klinsmann should have named a replacement for injured Joshua Gatt, whose knee injury will keep him out of the Gold Cup.

July 5 in San Diego
USA 6 Guatemala 0. Goal: Gomez 42, Donovan pen. 55, 72, Wondolowski 71, Goodson 84, Bedoya 88.
USA -- Rimando; Parkhurst, Onyewu, Goodson, Beasley; Beckerman (Diskerud 46), Torres (Holden 46); Corona (Bedoya 59), Donovan (Bruin 73), Castillo (Shea 59); Gomez (Wondolowski 59).
Guatemala -- Jerez; Castrillo, Vasquez, Gallardo (Leal 77), Hernandez (Cardona 63); Trujillo (Perez 62), Contreras (Sequen 86), Marquez, Santeliz, M.Lopez (Miranda 75); Campollo.
Referee: Valdin Legister (Jamaica).
Att.: 25,080.


8 comments
  1. Luis Arreola
    commented on: July 6, 2013 at 9:26 a.m.
    I would put Holden and Torres together and would start Bedoya. Castillo looked good and better fittted with this team that played more of the style he is used to at Xolos. I enjoyed watching this game even though opponent was easy. I think this team is good enough to win it all and many of these players will prove they should be on the "A" team.

  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: July 6, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.
    Donovan dropped like a sack of cement to get the PK. Playing against mediocre opposition does not provide any steps forward.

  1. Stuart d. Warner
    commented on: July 6, 2013 at 10:46 a.m.
    Luis--I don't know what game you were watching last night, but Castillo was terrible, losing the ball constantly, and showing extremely limited offensive skills. I'm sure he will be phased out once the Gold Cup hits its stride. It was great to see Holden play well. The assist to Donovan was very good, but the ball to Shea that ultimately set up Bodoya's goal was world-class.

  1. Joy Hottington
    commented on: July 6, 2013 at 1:15 p.m.
    However Donovan dropped, it was 100% a foul. Honestly, both of Holden's assists were fantastic. That's something that is missing from the current A team. Every once in a while Bradley, Jones or Dempsey can play a ball like that, but not multiple times in a half like Holden did. Getting two balls like that from the whole team would be a rarity. I hope Donovan and Holden can replicate this against better teams!

  1. Mark Wallis
    commented on: July 6, 2013 at 2:13 p.m.
    The prospect of a rejuvenated Holden in the same midfield with Bradley is exciting. They both add a dimension to the team that no one else can replicate.

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: July 6, 2013 at 5:10 p.m.
    Fun game to watch. Opponent was weak, but we showed our class and dominated the match as we should have. There were times in the recent past, we didn't look so good vs. such a weak opponent Good to see.

  1. Bill Anderson
    commented on: July 6, 2013 at 11:53 p.m.
    I was extremely impressed with the attacking threat that Brek Shea posed, and was happy to learn he has been added to the roster in place of the injured Gatt. Shea may be raw, but he is a nightmare matchup for any defense. He assisted one goal, and could have been 3-4. He also had two crosses that went into the stands (yikes!). There is no reason for Shea to sit the bench at Stoke. I hope the new manager retools the team to give him a role and mucho minutes.

  1. Aresenal Fan
    commented on: July 8, 2013 at 11:11 a.m.
    Glad to see Donovon and Holden back in the mix, they will certainly strengthen our national team by the time the world cup comes around.


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