USMNT Report: Consistency Leads to Victory

The Americans advance to Gold Cup final after 3-1 win over Honduras in Texas
by Herb Scribner   |   Thursday, July 25, 2013

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

Kick off. Pile on the goals. Leave.

That’s the strategy the United States Men’s National Team enforced on Wednesday night – and for the majority of its recent schedule – as the Americans cruised to a 3-1 win over Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal.

Not only did the USA extend its record winning streak to 10 games, but it also booked its place in the Gold Cup final on Sunday in Chicago, where the Yanks will face Panama for the rights to the trophy.

POST-GAME REACTIONS: USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann was sent off in the 87th minute against Honduras after he disagreed with the official’s call. Klinsmann’s eligibility for the final will be decided in the next 24-48 hours by the CONCACAF disciplinary committee.

"It was just a reaction out of frustration," Klinsmann said of the ejection, "because the fouls added up. It just kind of boiled over. … I apologize for the reaction. It was not meant for the referee."

Klinsmann also praised Donovan’s performance in the semifinal, as the Los Angeles Galaxy star notched 2 goals and an assist.

"We all are very pleased with the way he's playing," Klinsmann said. "You're always going to be measured on the maximum he could offer you. I told him that. Your benchmark is the best Landon Donovan ever. I'm not taking anything less than that.”

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Landon Donovan – No one changed the game like Donovan did last night in Texas. His 2 goals and 1 assist were remarkable, as was his work with Alejandro Bedoya consistently throughout the night. What is more telling, though, is that the USMNT dropped in performance once Donovan was subbed off. He can change the game, no matter if he is on or off the pitch.

ANALYSIS: The Americans showed its consistency on Wednesday night.

They held much of the possession before piling on a trio of goals and leaving Honduras behind to scrape for chances, which is something the USMNT has done constantly throughout this tournament to its opponents. Other than Costa Rica, none of the USA’s opponents have stopped the Americans from dominating possession and upping the score to unreachable levels.

The backline mostly held strong throughout, except for DaMarcus Beasley, again, committing a useless foul outside of the box, which led to the free kick and lone goal for Honduras.

Things changed significantly, though, when both Donovan and Kyle Beckerman were brought off the pitch. Beckerman’s defensive plays were solid for the United States, and he seems to be getting more comfortable on the pitch. It was odd for Klinsmann to take Beckerman, who is a defensive midfielder, off the field when the USA was trying to hold onto its lead.

Donovan, who once again will own the headlines with his 2 goals and 1 assist, was the driving force behind the USA’s offense. Bedoya helped him on several occasions – and without him there may not have been as many opportunities – but Donovan was in a class of his own in Texas.

But once Beckerman and Donovan were taken out, the USA suffered a brutal beatdown by Los Catrachos. Honduras had several chances in the later stages of the game that surely put fear in the United States. The last 20 or so minutes of the game went by in a blur, and was more the United States going through the motions than trying to secure a win or add to its lead.

It does say something, though, that Klinsmann was willing to sub off some of his best players during a semifinal contest. Subbing off Donovan early on in the 2nd half was a move more suited for a friendly than a semifinal.

Klinsmann himself made an impact on the team moving forward, as he was ejected close to the death of the match, and it’s unclear what was said or done to warrant a rejection. There’s no official decision if he’ll be eligible for the final or not, but the CONCACAF disciplinary committee will have an answer within the next day or so.

With or without Klinsmann, the United States is heading into Chicago just 1 win away from capturing the Gold Cup once again. And after how well the Americans have progressed through this tournament, they surely deserve to capture the gold.

NEXT UP: July 28 – Gold Cup: United States vs. Panama, Soldier Field, Chicago. 4 p.m. EST, FOX, Univsion.


UMass Amherst
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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.