Dynamic Donovan leads USA to rout over El Salvador

[USA-EL SALVADOR] Landon Donovan set up four goals and scored one as the USA thumped El Salvador, 5-1, in a Gold Cup quarterfinal win on Sunday in Baltimore.

Donovan said that since returning to the national team after his four-month break from soccer “every game is an audition." If so, this tryout phase for the USA's all-time greatest player has gone quite well. In his five games back, he's scored five goals and seven assists. He assisted on the gamewinner against Costa Rica on Tuesday and against El Salvador had his best post-sabbatical outing.

THE GOALS. Defender Clarence Goodson opened the scoring in the 21st minute after Donovan fed him from the endline for a six-yard shot. The 2-0 came after a sequence of 23 passes finished with Donovan dribbling into the heart of the Salvadoran defense and feeding Chris Wondolowski, who relayed the ball to Joe Corona, who stroked it low into the net from 16 yards in the 29th minute.

DaMarcus Beasley body-blocking Rodolfo Zelaya gifted El Salvador a 39th minute penalty kick that Zelaya converted.

The Americans survived a series of spirited Salvadoran attacks early in the second half before finishing off the Central Americans. Sub Eddie Johnson scored with his first touch 14 seconds after entering game, heading home Donovan’s cross from a corner kick in the 61st minute. Johnson returned the favor in the 78th minute, nodding a long clearance from goalkeeper Nick Rimando to Donovan, who easily rounded Salvadoran goalie Dagoberto Portillo to score his 54th career goal for the USA.

In the 84th minute, Donovan -- notching his 55th career assist -- chipped a ball for Mix Diskerud to head past Portillo to complete the 5-1 rout.

MAN OF THREE NATIONS. The 23-year-old Corona, who scored his second goal of the Gold Cup after a feint sent defender Marcelo Posadas to the ground, was playing against one of the three nations he was eligible to represent. Corona was born in Los Angeles to a Mexican father and Salvadoran mother, and his family moved to Tijuana when he was a toddler to be with his father's extended family. He said he played street soccer everyday with friends in Tijuana after school.

At age 10, his parents felt it was important for Joe to live in the USA -- "Because I'm American and they wanted me to speak English," he said -- and they moved to San Diego.

The Salvadoran national team program was the first to court Corona, but the first time he appeared in a national team jersey was during a friendly with Mexico's U-22 team, having drawn attention while playing with Tijuana's Xolos, for whom he debuted in 2010 and whom he helped win the Mexican title in 2012.

Corona's allegiance to the USA was cemented when he played for the U.S. U-23s during its failed attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics during which he scored four goals. His Gold Cup performances wide right in midfield indicate a bright future for him in Jurgen Klinsmann's squad.

HIGH PRAISE. El Salvador coach Agustin Castillo said: "Collectively, they're a very good team. They almost play by memory. They can find the spaces. It almost seems like every time they pass the ball into a space it's going to nobody, then somebody appears and actually meets the ball. Good work, good movement."

RECORDS. The triumph over El Salvador extended the USA record win streak to nine games. The previous record was seven, set en route to the 2007 Gold Cup title.  Its 16 goals in four 2013 Gold Cup games broke the USA’s record for Gold Cup goals, previously set at 13 at the 2003 tournament.

UP NEXT. The USA faces the Honduras in the semifinals on Wednesday in Arlington, Texas (7 pm ET).

July 21 in Baltimore
USA 5 El Salvador 1. Goals: Goodson 21, Corona 29, E.Johnson 60, Donovan 78, Diskerud 84; Zelaya (pen.) 39.
USA --
Rimando; Parkhurst, Besler (Orozco Fiscal, 75), Goodson, Beasley, Beckerman, Diskerud; Corona, Torres (Shea, 66), Donovan; Wondolowski (E.Johnson, 60).
El Salvador -- Portillo; Garcia, Turcios, Henriquez, Posadas; Flores, Menjivar, Ceren, Romero (Burgos, 46); Blanco (Santamaria, 46),  Zelaya (Mayen, 73).
Yellow cards: USA -- Goodson 15; El Salvador -- Ceren 68.
Referee: Enrico Wijngaarde (Suriname).
Att.: 70,540.

13 comments about "Dynamic Donovan leads USA to rout over El Salvador".
  1. Bill Anderson, July 21, 2013 at 7:28 p.m.

    How much time does Klinsmann have left?

  2. James Froehlich, July 21, 2013 at 9:15 p.m.

    LOL --- JK haters are getting very quiet!!!

  3. Charles Stamos, July 22, 2013 at 1:11 a.m.

    Nice all around effort. Nice to see the US keep the pressure on and get the extra goals. Donovan cements his spot for the WC squad. Credit to Klinsmann for the current success.

  4. fwpeteo fwpeteo, July 22, 2013 at 1:50 a.m.

    Haha, yep, including some very well known and respected blogs.

  5. Kerry Solomon, July 22, 2013 at 8:13 a.m.

    Pretty good result. Donovan played fairly well...although with a few better touches, he could have had 2-3 more goals and an outstanding game. Very good team effort. Substitutions were unusual. Probably would have subbed Goodson to protect him since he has a yellow card and Diskerud because, even though he scored, he struggled most of the game. Beckerman had a good game. He's steady, aggressive and hold down the midfield fairly well. He has a great work rate. Should be able to handle Honduras but, then again, that why you play the match. Good luck, USMNT!

  6. Walt Pericciuoli, July 22, 2013 at 10:05 a.m.

    Solid performance again. The team is becoming consistently entertaining and fun to watch. The wins are also fun. Great job by the players and the coaching staff. They have all staked a legitimate claim to be included in the 23 WC roster.Now lets' keep it up. The next 2 matches will be tough tests, Honduras will be a stiff test and so will whoever comes out of the Mexico/Panama matchup.

  7. Stuart d. Warner, July 22, 2013 at 12:02 p.m.

    As Kerry Solomon said, Donovan might have had a few more goals, but that means that Donovan was a dangerous player the whole match, and his movement and pace were creating an extra man on the field. With an eye on World Cup Qualifying, in the 4-2-3-1 formation Klinsmann has been using, having the left mid pinch in toward the middle, that fits Donovan like a glove, which will push Fabian Johnson back to left back, which is very good, because Beasley always has trouble with dynamic players. But back to yesterday, I though Diskerud played quite well, especially getting the ball out wide. I think he has established himself as the backup to Bradley. Besler did not play well at all, which might be a concern. And Corona might very well have established himself as the backup to Zusi. Johnson is now a great wild card--forward or left mid or right mid--to bring off the bench and inject pace into the game. A final thought, the US continues to be a marvelously conditioned team.

  8. Roger Sokol, July 22, 2013 at 1:56 p.m.

    So far great. The US has played with intelligence, purpose, and pace. There are no more mindless balls forward as in the past. Klinsi is well on his way to reintegrating Donovan into the team without the whole burden of success or failure on Landon's shoulders. Former U-23ers Corona, Diskerud, and to some extent Sean Johnson are staking some claim as part of the future of the USMNT. Everyone's got a fair shot at impressing Klinsi. So the tournament is a success no matter what transpires here forward. Let's win the Cup a game at a time.

  9. Alex G. Sicre, July 22, 2013 at 2:14 p.m.

    Fun and exciting to watch this game. Everybody was in sinc and Donovan led the way. Dynamic performance. Klinsis' experiment is working out.

  10. Brent Crossland, July 22, 2013 at 3:21 p.m.

    I have not been Landon Donovan's biggest fan and I will freely admit to some caustic comments about his "comeback". Having said that, I give him full credit for leading the attack against El Salvador. I don't know whether he rediscovered his desire to compete for the national team or if he found new confidence and enthusiasm in his teammates, but THAT Landon Donovan needs to be on the team for the qualifying matches this fall.

  11. Chris Sapien , July 22, 2013 at 3:26 p.m.

    I can't think of one positive aspect we didn't exhibit yesterday!! (except a couple of finishing chances missed...Mix & Landy) This team is becoming SCARY good........! Physical, Pace, Fitness, Touch, Finish, Combine/Connect from back, Strong Aerial, Cover as a team, Bench depth, Dangerous set plays, willing 1v1, Uniquely American!

  12. Manny Hirschel, July 22, 2013 at 7:11 p.m.

    I agree with most of the above. Now, if they would only sing the National Anthem as robustly as most of the other teams do.

  13. Scott O'Connor, July 23, 2013 at 11:04 a.m.

    Here, here Manny! I hate that our guys don't sing the anthem. I can forgive the foreign-born players but the born and raised Americans should show some pride in their Country.

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