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USA Winning While Newcomers Gain Experience

  • AP , Friday, July 24, 2009 3:02 PM
New U.S. players are taking turns in the spotlight. Defender Clarence Goodson, who scored the opening goal in the U.S.'s 2-0 win over Honduras on Thursday, represents the sixth American newbie to get his first goal during the tournament. The U.S. continued its pattern of spreading the goal-scoring wealth, as Goodson represents the 10th U.S. player to score during the Gold Cup, The Americans have 12 goals overall.

A rotating roster has given a number of new players the chance to shine while gaining experience in hard fought games. "They're not intimidated by the situations," said Brian Ching, the lone regular starter on the Gold Cup roster after missing the Confederations Cup with a strained hamstring. "Some of the guys have shown well, and that's always a good sign of things to come." The USA is unbeaten in the tournament, and several young players have emerged who could play a role in next year's World Cup. Midfielder Stuart Holden had assists on both goals Thursday, adding to his production of two goals in earlier games. Holden's second assist, which came after a nifty pass from Houston Dynamo teammate Ching, set up Kenny Cooper for his second goal of the tournament.

"We knew from the start of the tournament it was a great opportunity for some younger players," Bradley said. "But we also made it clear we were the defending champs." The USA has now beaten Honduras three times in the past seven weeks. The Americans, winners of the last two Gold Cup titles, will play Mexico in Sunday's final at the Meadowlands. The Mexicans edged Costa Rica 5-3 on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie.

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