The USMNT have been to theÃ‚Â Gold Cup Semifinal eightÃ‚Â other times, making this appearance their ninth. The US has only won the tournament 4 times. After an outstanding performance against Honduras, the USMNT will make their fifth appearance in the finals. With the likes of Landon Donovan, DeMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckermen, and Nick Rimando all playing some of the best soccer anywhere, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very possible that the USMNT will have its 5th title on Sunday. Panama will be their opponent (they beat Mexico in the second semifinal game 2-1 with a goal from FC DallasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ star striker Blas Perez).
The USMNT surprised everyone by starting Alejandro Bedoya and Clarence Goodson. Joe Corona (which plays the same position as Bedoya) seemed to be a better fit after his performances in the quarterfinals and group stage. Similarly, Omar Gonzalez return could have put Goodson back on the bench. Every analyst and writer who watched the game were shocked by Bedoya and GoodsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s performance by the end of the night. Goodson played a beautifully controlled ball into the feet of Landon Donovan which he one touched to Eddie Johnson. Johnson took the beautifully touched pass and turned it into the first US goal in the 11th minute.
The USMNT possessed the ball 55% of the match and had created some great goal scoring opportunities throughout the match. Only 15 minutes had passed when a ball was played into the box through the air to a bulldozing Bedoya; who lightly volleyed the ball over a defender to no one other than Landon Donovan. Donovan took one touch to put the ball past the Honduran keeper and into the back of the net to make it 2-0 in the 27th minute at Cowboys Stadium. As the half went on it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t look as if anyone was going to score anytime soon and you started to see tired legs. At halftime, the score was 2-0 and the US fans were going crazy, especially the American Outlaws section that was helped led by FC DallasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ very own Aaron Willis (Dallas Beer Guardian).
Halftime was a breath of fresh air due to the atmosphere at this key moment in Texas. The USMNT hadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been to Dallas in 9 years for a match. Texas has been craving more international games and has started to be heard. With Mexico and Brazil coming just a year ago, Cowboys Stadium has now hosted 3 international games recently. As American flags were held tightly and firmly but the supports, chants filled the stadium and its halls from American supporters. Nothing touches an Americans heart more than the National Anthem and chants of Ã¢â‚¬Å“USA! USA! USA!Ã¢â‚¬Â As halftime came to a close it was clear to the US that they needed to close this game out.
Something shocking happened in the 52nd minute; Honduras hit the US with a quick counter attack started by San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Marvin Chavez (formerly of FC Dallas). The old US way would have been to put their heads down and lose control of the game but the old US way is in the past. Just one minute after Honduras made the score 2-1, the US does it once again. Starting with Clarence Goodson playing a beautiful ball forward to Alejandro Bedoya who, once again, lightly volleysÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ the ball across the goal mouth to Landon Donovan who put the ball in the net with force. The US went up 3-1 and Honduras just couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get any good possession or attacking built up. The game ended with Landon Donovan, Clarence Goodson, and Alejandro Bedoya looking like soccer Gods! This US Ã¢â‚¬Å“B TeamÃ¢â‚¬Â is starting to look more like a Ã¢â‚¬Å“2nd A TeamÃ¢â‚¬Â and the best soccer from the Yanks has yet to come.
Best Quotes from the post-match Interviews:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Panama brought their first team, there a good team. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be a great finalÃ¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say we are considered the favorites of the tournamentÃ¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The reports and media are to decide who the best in CONCACAF are, we just play the gameÃ¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought our attitude from the first minute was known. They knew we were there to handle business.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The field was really fast so it was hard to hit a long ball without it going out. I wanted to make sure I was at the end of the ball the Alejando Bedoya put across.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Speaking about his second goal)