USMNT Report: Swiftly into the Semis

The United States continued its winning streak with a 5-1 win over El Salvador
by Herb Scribner   |   Sunday, July 21, 2013

USMNT Report - coverage of the United States Men's National Team

The United States Men’s National Team moved in a drumble against El Salvador earlier today. Crosses were sent into the box and long passes filled the voids, showing a very lusk team on the field.

But one player stood out among the rest – Landon Donovan.

Donovan, with his 1 goal and 3 assists, carried the United States to a dominating 5-1 win over El Salvador at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The win marks the 9th victory in a row for the United States, continuing the all-time record set last Tuesday against Costa Rica.

POST-GAME REACTIONS: Following the victory, USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann said the USA still has a lot of respect for El Salvador.

Klinsmann was also very impressed with Donovan, saying, “Landon again proved today how valuable he is, and how he can make a difference.”

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Landon Donovan – The Los Angeles Galaxy star was back in top form tonight, racking in 3 assists and a goal of his own. He was an attacking force on the field and was very seldom slowed down by El Salvador.

ANALYSIS: The Americans were the favorites going into this match, and the dominating 5-1 scoreline isn’t all too surprising. Just like the earlier matches of the group phase, the United States stormed past its opponent without too much of a scratch.

In fact, the Americans had this game in the bag from the opening whistle, as they controlled the majority of possession. Shots at goal were turned away by El Salvador goalkeeper Dagoberto Portillo, who saved the score from getting wildly out of control before the halftime break.

La Selecta’s sole goal of the contest came on an unlucky play made by DaMarcus Beasley, as he fouled Rodolofo Zelaya in the box, which led to the penalty kick goal. Beasley can’t make those mistakes anymore now that he’s solidified himself as the starting leftback for the USA in both the Gold Cup and World Cup qualifying.

Though goalkeeper Nick Rimando let up the penalty, which is something of a rarity for the keeper as he is dynamite during PK situations for Real Salt Lake, he played very well between the posts with his diving saves and impenetrable poise. He stayed strong and confident despite not playing against Costa Rica last week. Rimando even had a hand in Donovan’s goal with a powerful kick that was flicked by Eddie Johnson, who found a streaking Donovan.

And though Wondolowski, who scored 6 goals in 3 matches before his recent 2-game dry spell, didn’t score against El Salvador, he did slide the ball to Joe Corona, who netted the United States’ 2nd goal of the game. Wondo’s influence continues to make waves for Team USA, even though he’s not scoring all the time.

It was good to see Johnson in a US kit again now that he’s been called up to the Gold Cup squad. His goal that came a mere 15 seconds after entering the game as a substitute was a fantastic sight to see, and shows just how much of an influence he can have in the attacking third.

The most important part of this match was how well the USA’s offense connected. From Johnson to Donovan to Corona to Wondolowski, the attacking third’s chemistry was beautifully high. They’re all hitting the right notes at the perfect time, making these scores and goals all the more impressive.

Calmly sliding through the quarterfinals is something to take pride in, seeing as knockout rounds offer plenty of opportunity for upsets in major tournaments. That’s something the United States should take pride in. It prevailed, and did so with barely a blemish.

Only time will tell if the United States can reach the finals and take the trophy back from Mexico. All seems to be leading towards a clash between the regional rivals, as El Tri barely broke through to the semifinals on Saturday night against Trinidad and Tobago.

But for now, things are clearly looking good for the United States.

NEXT UP: July 24 – Gold Cup: United States vs. Honduras, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas. 7 p.m. EST, FOX Soccer.


UMass Amherst
Club Domestic:
Club Foreign:
FC Barcelona
SN managing editor and award-winning journalist, Herb has always been known as "The Soccer Guy" wherever he goes. He's a leftback in most outdoor and indoor leagues. He also writes for Deseret News National.