Goodson goal sparks USA to rout of El Salvador

Goodson goal sparks USA to rout of El Salvador
July 21, 2013, 8:00 pm
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Clarence Goodson (above) and Joe Corona scored during an eight-minute span of the first half. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

The passes were sharp, the defense sound and the goals plentiful. The United States could not have played much better, and the timing could not have been more perfect.
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Clarence Goodson and Joe Corona scored during an eight-minute span of the first half, and the United States cruised past El Salvador, 5-1, on Sunday in Baltimore to advance to the semifinals of the Concacaf Gold Cup.

Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan and Mix Diskerud added second-half goals for the Americans, who will play in Dallas on Wednesday against the winner of the Honduras-Costa Rica match.

Honduras and Costa Rica met Sunday night as part of a doubleheader with the Americans’ game in front of a capacity crowd at the home stadium of the Baltimore Ravens.

Assists are not an official statistic in the Gold Cup, but Donovan set up three goals in a dazzling performance.

“I think Landon proved again today how valuable he is and now he can make a difference,” United States Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “This game was important for coaches to see who is a difference maker. Over all, we see our team clicking more and playing better and better.”

The United States has won nine straight full internationals, a record for the national team. The Americans have also prevailed in seven of their past eight Gold Cup matches, the exception being a 4-2 loss to Mexico in 2011 final.

“We are trying to catch up with the big teams in the world,” Klinsmann said. “It’s all about speed. I’m not talking about physical speed. I’m talking about mental speed, passing speed with every player going both ways. That’s what we’re working to. This is a process and I think that process is coming along.”

Rodolfo Zelaya scored on a penalty kick for El Salvador, which dropped to 1-19-7 over all against the United States.

“Collectively, they’re a very good team,” El Salvador Coach Agustin Castillo said through a translator. “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.”

Goodson put the United States ahead in the 21st minute by converting a crossing pass from Donovan, who gained possession near the end line to the right of the net. It was Goodson’s fifth career goal, and his second in the Gold Cup.

Minutes later, the Americans’ goalkeeper, Nick Rimando, kicked aside a straight-on shot by Lester Blanco Pineda and batted away the subsequent rebound at the right corner of the net.

In the 29th minute, Corona gained possession at the top of the penalty area and used his right foot to line a shot into the left corner for a 2-0 lead.

That drained much of the enthusiasm from the strong contingent of blue-and-white clad El Salvador fans. But momentum shifted in the 39th minute, when El Salvador’s Rodolfo Zelaya was fouled by DaMarcus Beasley and converted the penalty kick to make it 2-1.

Johnson restored the two-goal advantage with a header off a pass from Donovan in the 60th minute. The score came 14 seconds after Johnson entered as a substitute.

Donovan converted a breakaway in the 78th minute, and Diskerud added the final goal from close range six minutes later, just as a sudden rain shower began to pick up intensity.

AFRICAN TROUBLES The African Champions League resumed this weekend with a curtailed schedule because of violence in Egypt and Cameroon’s soccer suspension. Only two of the four matches scheduled for the opening round of a disjointed eight-team group stage were played. Cameroon’s Coton Sport was not allowed to play Ivory Coast’s Sewe Sport after its national federation was suspended by FIFA for government interference, and the meeting of the Cairo rivals Zamalek and Al Ahly was put back until Wednesday because of political turmoil and the threat of violence.

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