USA cruises into Gold Cup final with win over Honduras

[USA-HONDURAS] The USA extended its win streak record to 10 games with a 3-1 victory of Honduras in the Gold Cup semifinals Wednesday in Arlington, Texas, where red-hot Landon Donovan scored twice and assisted on Eddie Johnson's goal.

THE GOALS. The opening goal came in the 12th minute when defender Clarence Goodson sent a low pass down the center of the field to Donovan near the center circle. He one-touched a pass into the path of streaking Johnson, who dribbled into the penalty area and rocketed high into the net from 16 yards.

The USA pressured the Hondurans in their own half and combined passes well when they won the ball, creating several more chances. But the second goal came after goalkeeper Nick Rimando launched a goal kick upfield in the 26th minute. Johnson flicked on Rimando's mortar to Alejandro Bedoya, who beat Juan Csrlos Garcia to the ball at the edge of the penalty area and tapped it over Bryan Beckeles’ head to Donovan. After controlling the ball with his chest, Donovan poked it past goalkeeper Donis Escober from nine yards.

Honduras pulled within a goal in the 52nd minute when Nery Medina powered home a header from eight yards off Marvin Chavez’s free kick cross, but the USA responded within a minute to make it 3-1. Again it was Bedoya setting up Donovan, who kneed the ball into an empty net from three yards after Bedoya met Goodson’s chip from the halfway line at the corner of the goal area and tapped it to Donovan.

DONOVAN WATCH. In Sunday’s quarterfinal 5-1 win over El Salvador, Donovan scored once and helped create the other four goals. His two goals and assist against Honduras give him 56 goals and 56 assists in 150 U.S. games. In his six games back with the USA since his sabbatical from soccer, Donovan has scored seven goals and made nine assists. His five goals and seven assists at the Gold Cup are both more than the three goals and six assists he has for the LA Galaxy in MLS play.

BEDOYA SERVICE. Despite Joe Corona’s solid performance and fine goal against El Salvador, Klinsmann started Alejandro Bedoya in right midfield and was rewarded with two assists. Two other changes from Sunday’s lineup: Johnson starting up front instead of Chris Wondolowski and Stuart Holden in central midfielder in place of Mix Diskerud.

U.S. DOMINANT. Honduras coach Luis Suarez said, "They beat us in just about every aspect of the game. After five games, the United States has proven to be the most complete in the [tournament]."

THE DISMISSAL. That referee Walter Quesada showed no yellows to Honduras despite some persistent fouling, particulary on midfielder Jose Torres, that had U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann fuming on the sidelines several times. Quesada dismissed Klinsmann in the 87th minute by after he spiked the ball that went out of bounds following a pair of fouls in quick succession on DaMarcus Beasley. Klinsmann awaits a decision from the Gold Cup's disciplinary committee on whether he'll be suspended for the final.

THE FINAL. The USA will face Panama, which beat Mexico, 2-1, in their semifinal, in Sunday's Gold Cup final in Chicago (Fox & Univision, 4 pm ET). It will be a rematch of the 2005 Gold Cup final, in which the USA beat Los Canaleros on penalty kicks after a scoreless tie. The USA last won the biennial regional crown in 2007 with a 2-1 win over Mexico in Chicago. El Tri beat the USA in the 2009 and 2011 finals.

July 24 in Arlington, Texas
USA 3 Honduras 1. Goals: E.Johnson 11, Donovan 27, 53; Medina 52.
USA -- Rimando; Parkhurst, Besler, Goodson, Beasley, Beckerman (Diskerud, 67), Holden; Bedoya, Donovan (Wondolowski, 72), Torres (Shea, 67); E.Johnson
Honduras -- Escobar; Beckeles, O.Chavez, Medina,  Garcia; Delgado, Claros, Lopez (J.Palacios, 46); Najar, Rojas (R.Martinez, 69), Reyes (M.Chavez, 46)
Yellow Card: USA -- E.Johnson 90+2.
Referee: Walter Quesada (Costa Rica)

Johnson's goal

Donovan's first strike:

Donovan's second strike:

26 comments about "USA cruises into Gold Cup final with win over Honduras".
  1. tom brown, July 24, 2013 at 9:33 p.m.

    In my opinion in an international event like gold cup, world cup etc. in the issue of fairness, you would think a policy of not having referees involved whose countries have teams in the tournament. this would not prevent fixing but it would at least be an effort to avoid fixing. that is not done. Referees from countries freely participate some even swap refs freely depending on who does the swapping against whom. Cartel countries are never swapped against.

  2. Charles Stamos, July 25, 2013 at 12:58 a.m.

    The USA will NOT face Mexico in Sunday's Gold Cup final!

  3. Charles Stamos, July 25, 2013 at 1:12 a.m.

    Nice all around game against a lesser opponent. The USA is winning going away in these games and that is the best we can hope for against less than top quality opponents. Donovan gets man of the match and Gold Cup MVP in my opinion. The ref should have carded some of the Honduran players for persistent infringement, unfortunately Torres got the verbal admonishment by calling that to his attention. He should have carded the Honduran player and Torres could be carded also if that bothered the ref so much. Klinsmann gets the boot instead. He does care for his players. Whomever was captain probably should have stepped up to the ref, although that may have had little effect. I feel that the best CONCACAF refs should call the games. There are not a lot of good ones, though.

  4. Charles Stamos, July 25, 2013 at 1:15 a.m.

    Just finished watching the Mexico game. I hope this is mostly their B team also. Except for Fabian, I don't see much there to get excited about.

  5. Brent Crossland, July 25, 2013 at 7:20 a.m.

    Agree with the comments above. HON tried to kick their way back into the match but the US gets the only two misconducts from this referee? CONCACAF needs to recognize what happened and rescind Klinsman's send off . . . but that would require objectivity from the disciplinary committee that we didn't see from this referee.

  6. Bruce Gowan, July 25, 2013 at 7:43 a.m.

    I am a ref and for CONCACAF and World Cup games I wonder if the officiating crew is really capable of working the game they are assigned to. Last night I think I saw a crew that was not up to the level of the competition and seemed to be bias. Do the Hispanic refs dislike the USA so much that they are not objective? A crew from Canada would have called a different game last night.

  7. Bill Anderson, July 25, 2013 at 8:01 a.m.

    The difficulty with being the USA is that there are many, many people around the entire globe who can't get past their hatred of the politics of the USA and be objective with our boys on the field. It is not fair, and not pretty, but in a way it does make us a better soccer nation (tempered by fire).

  8. Kent James, July 25, 2013 at 8:09 a.m.

    Great game by the US. This is how the US is supposed to play against lesser opposition (and we should keep in mind that even lesser opposition can win, as our loss earlier this year to the Honduras will attest). This is the kind of attacking soccer I had hoped JK would bring to the team. And Bedoya made JK look like a zen master; he doesn't play Corona, who by all rights, should have started given how well he's played, and Bedoya rewards him with almost man of the match honors (which I think should go to LD). The other thing this game demonstrated is that skillful long passes do have a place in the modern game, particularly against compact defenses. On EJ's goal, both he and LD checked back to the ball, with pulled the defenders out of position, and when EJ realized the pass was going to LD, he turned and took off while LD hit him with a perfect one-touch pass. Thing of beauty. And I think both of the goals on which Bedoya got the assist were started with long passes. Skillful soccer and a joy to watch. Mixing accurate long passes into an overall possession game (that Torres, Holden, Beckerman and Diskerud did so well) is a nice combination. Bring on los Canaleros!

  9. Kent James, July 25, 2013 at 8:22 a.m.

    As for the refereeing, make no mistake, this was a tough game to referee. The US was very aggressive defensively (another trait I like to see), and there were certainly players going down easily looking for fouls (mostly Honduran players, but Beasley occasionally does this as well). I thought the referee did a good job in ignoring some of those, but unfortunately, I think he erred on the side of letting too many things go (and he certainly was hesitant to card players, though I'm not so sure why). Early in the game he missed it when Bedoya exposed his studs when he reached a bouncing ball first (and the Honduran player got the studs on his ankle as a result), and he clearly missed the elbow on Holden in the box, but to be fair, when watching the game live I missed both of those as well (Holden fell so awkwardly I thought he was embellishing it). Wondo was also fouled 2x on the one run in the penalty area, but without him going down, few refs will give him a pk. And on the play where JK was upset, I thought it looked bad live, but on replay, there wasn't much there. Since it was right in front of the bench and did look bad, the ref probably should have called it just for game management's sake, but it certainly wasn't a grievous error. But that's why being a ref ain't easy...

  10. Brent Crossland, July 25, 2013 at 8:27 a.m.

    Bruce -- Quesada has been a FIFA referee for more than a decade. Check out his list of matches at:

  11. Ginger Peeler, July 25, 2013 at 8:52 a.m.

    I've been watching soccer at all levels for many years and never seen one so badly officiated. Not sure why the center ref even bothered to take the field. Both of my kids were refs back in the 80's and 90's...I remember one of their instructors told them that part of a referee's responsibility is to protect the player. Studs up tackling from behind and not even a whistle? Give me a break!

  12. Walt Pericciuoli, July 25, 2013 at 9:55 a.m.

    Another great performance by the USNT.Although not as smooth as previous matches (perhaps the field condition was a factor)We are doing now what I thought we should have accomplished years ago, dominating our region. This is the best stretch of entertaining games I have ever witnessed our team complete.Regardless of the outcome Sunday, or boys have done a wonderful job. Now the speculation can begin, who from this group will be included in the WC qualifying matches and who will be included in the WC roster? Klinsi has developed a pool of players now with depth and versatility. It should be fun to argue who should be included and who shouldn't.I'm on board. Lets go USA and win this Cup.

  13. Aresenal Fan, July 25, 2013 at 10:40 a.m.

    Good game again for USA, no doubt Donovon should be back in the mix for WC qualifiers.

  14. Scott O'Connor, July 25, 2013 at 10:56 a.m.

    For the first time in my memory watching our team, they are not "playing down" to their opponents and making the games more competitive than they should be. Klinsman has instilled a killer instinct into our teams psychology. When you're up 2 goals, go up 3 goals. When you're up 3 goals, go for 4 goals. That's very German I think. Watching the German team, they can really destroy weaker opponents and don't seem to be concerned about sportsmanship. It's a contest and it's disrespectful to play easy on a weak team, like you would with a kid. You're on the same field we're going to show you our best for 90 minutes out of respect for you and the game. I like that our guys are all scrapping for balls in the 85th minute up 3 goals rather than just "seeing the game out" and giving up cheap goals.

  15. John Soares, July 25, 2013 at noon

    Everybody is talking about the game... and that's good! Speaking of talking, can we, anybody, get these gentlemen to call the game and chatter LESS. At times especially in the first half it seemed as if somebody started a game (in the background)interrupting the ongoing talk and TALK. How rude of those teams. OH YEAH, GOOD GAME!!!

  16. beautiful game, July 25, 2013 at 1:26 p.m.

    First time in a long time, the squad responded and did not bunker in after taking the lead. They played a simple and effective game plan. let's hope they don't forget this effort and return to a helter-skelter style. TV commentary, as usual, was too mundane and winded with no purpose. As for the video, too many facials being ping-ponged around and those ground level shots were mostly boring.

  17. Chris St. Hilaire, July 25, 2013 at 1:34 p.m.

    "Brake" Shea has no business on the team. Klinsmann has made progress with just about every "fencer" on the field, including Beckerman and Johnson...Shea just isn't progressing. In fact, it looks like he's getting worse.

  18. Allan Lindh, July 25, 2013 at 2:08 p.m.

    Yes it is true that CONCACAF refs are strongly biased against US teams. Could it be because:
    1. We have invaded, or otherwise abused militarily, many CONCACAF countries. (None have invaded us)
    2. We are larger and richer than all of them put together.
    3. We treat their citizens like slaves when they sneak into this country to feed their families, and then abuse them as criminals for coming here, when they do much of the hard dirty work in this country.
    4. Some of our Anglo players carry this condescending attitude into matches with their gestures and comments. Fewer all the time however, and as more of our players are Hispanic in origins, our relations with refs and players are improving.

    Apart from that, I can't understand why they don't like us. Oh ya, and now we beat them.

  19. Chris Sapien , July 25, 2013 at 2:29 p.m.

    Scott, your post is hands down, spot on! Who knew Bedoya had the pace he showed yesterday?? I sure didn't. That being said, out of the four semi-final teams, the US looked as if they were from another planet conditioning wise! Panama, mexico and honduras had their wind gone by the 60th, and their games slowed down immensely.....JK's substitutions have kept our attack fresh and willing to go forward. That says alot about a distinctly American Side!

  20. Chris Sapien , July 25, 2013 at 2:33 p.m.

    Save the politics......they believe what their politicians and government media want them to believe......

  21. Kent James, July 25, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.

    Allan, while your major point that some Latin Americans might carry a grudge because of the history of our foreign policy is right (the Monroe Doctrine was essentially used to tell the Europeans "you can't come in here and control these countries as if they were your colonies, that's our job!"), Pancho Villa did actually invade the US (on Mar 9, 1916 he attacked Columbus, NM; General Pershing then spent about a year chasing him through northern Mexico). As to biased refereeing, it does at least seem suspect to have referees from countries whose national teams are in the tournament doing the games, since it certainly gives the appearance of a conflict of interest. On one of the US games, I was shocked to see the 4th official from our opponent's country (I think it was the game against Costa Rica). I have noticed that they include officials from more than one country in the crew (presumably to make match fixing more difficult), but it would seem more appropriate to get officials from outside the region.

  22. beautiful game, July 25, 2013 at 3:23 p.m.

    Fellows, we have to live with the poor officiating until FIFA gets its act together. Unfortunately, FIFA's priorities are $-cow venues and its neglect of enforcing the laws of game has enabled the ref's to be delinquent in their responsibilities.

  23. Edgar Aldana, July 25, 2013 at 5:23 p.m.

    Chris Sapien, that a ridicules post, like we don't do the same here.

  24. Chris Sapien , July 25, 2013 at 6:40 p.m.

    So you're saying you believe what our politicians and media try to feed you.....? Sad brother....would rather not see it period on a soccer site.

  25. Edgar Aldana, July 25, 2013 at 7:27 p.m.

    Chris, I've lived in two different countries and politics are all the same no matter what, all governments feed crap to their populations and the US is no deferent but I can tell you
    why these countries have such resentment towards the US.

  26. Chris Sapien , July 25, 2013 at 7:32 p.m.

    Everybody has an opinion.....congratulations. Now back to the game......

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