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PHILADELPHIA (July 19, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team utilized two first-half goals from Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj to earn a 2-0 victory against El Salvador in the Quarterfinals of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup in front of 31,615 at Lincoln Financial Field.
With the win, the U.S. MNT moves on to its 13th Gold Cup Semifinal where it will face Costa Rica on Saturday, July 22 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (10 p.m. ET; FS1, Univision and UDN).
The victory also extends the USA’s unbeaten run to 12 matches (7-0-5) since Bruce Arena returned as head coach, setting a team-record unbeaten streak at the start of a U.S. MNT coaching tenure.
After an early scare that saw Tim Howard come off his line to deny Rodolfo Zelaya’s breakaway in the third minute, the USA had a golden opportunity of its own four minutes later when Clint Dempsey’s effort inside the box was smothered by El Salvador goalkeeper Derby Carillo.
The U.S. looked to jump ahead 10 minutes later when Dempsey fed Gyasi Zardes inside the left side of the box and he buried his effort past Carrillo, but despite appearing even at the time Dempsey played the ball, Zardes was judged to be in an offside position.
After some nervy moments in which El Salvador heavily pressed the MNT back line, the U.S. found two goals before the break. The first came in the 41st minute when Michael Bradley’s driven free kick from the left picked out Omar Gonzalez, who nodded his effort past Carrillo’s outstretched arms to tally his second goal in as many matches.
The advantage doubled in the second minute of first half stoppage time. A build-up through midfield led to Justin Morrow finding Dempsey, who took the ball on the turn before finding right back Eric Lichaj in full stride entering the area. Lichaj took one touch before burying his first international goal through Carrillo’s legs.
Spurred by the crowd, El Salvador stayed dangerous in the second half, but saw most of their attempts sent off frame of Tim Howard’s goal. Back the other way, Dempsey had another decent chance to increase the lead to three, but saw Carrillo make a diving stop on his 75th minute attempt.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT moves on to the CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals where it will meet Costa Rica on Saturday, July 22 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET and the game can be see live on FS1, Univision and Univision Deportes Network.
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Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Omar Gonzalez (Michael Bradley), 41st minute: After some frustrating moments in the first half, the U.S. finally broke the ice just before the break. A foul on the left hand side led to a Michael Bradley free kick, which saw the captain serve a blistering driven effort that Gonzalez met at the six-yard box. The tall center back got just enough of his head on the ball to pop it over El Salvador goalkeeper Derby Carrillo and give the U.S. a 1-0 lead. The goal was Gonzalez’s second of the tournament, while Bradley gathered his 22nd career assist, tying him with Cobi Jones for second on the U.S. MNT’s all-time assist list. USA 1, SLV 0 [WATCH]
USA – Eric Lichaj (Clint Dempsey), 45+2 minute: The U.S. gathered a second goal from an unlikely source deep into first half stoppage time. A nice build up through midfield saw Justin Morrow play to Clint Dempsey, who took the ball on the turn before finding right back Eric Lichaj, inexplicably streaking into the box. The right back continued his run, taking a touch into the area before putting his effort through the legs of Carrillo for his first-career goal.
USA 2, SLV 0 [WATCH] FINAL
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Tim Howard, 3rd minute: The U.S. earned an early corner, but nearly found themselves down a goal when Paul Arriola’s follow-up attempt was blocked and squirted back out to midfield. There, Eric Lichaj attempted to play a ball back to Howard, but the pass was too soft and allowed Rodolfo Zelaya a clean lane toward goal. Howard was alert to the misplay and quickly came off his line to keep things level early.
SLV – Derby Carrillo and Henry Romero, 7th minute: The USA nearly pulled ahead just moments later when Michael Bradley’s corner kick from the left picked out Matt Hedges at the back post. The center back nodded back across goal for Omar Gonzalez, whose mishit shot fell to Clint Dempsey at the right post. Dempsey’s effort was pounced on by El Salvador goalkeeper Carrillo, before Hedges follow Romero cleared the danger as Hedges lurked on the doorstep.
SLV – Derby Carrillo, 16th minute: Darlington Nagbe played a ball forward for Jozy Altidore, who posted up on Henry Romero to enter the area before firing a low blast that Carrillo that measured well, sprawling out to his left to keep things level.
SLV – Derby Carrillo, 75th minute: After a nice build-up through midfield, Jordan Morris laid off for Dempsey just outside of the area. The veteran forward quickly turned and sent a hopeful shot that saw Carillo once again sprawl out to his left with a diving save.
- The U.S. MNT extended its unbeaten run to 12 matches (7-0-5) since Bruce Arena returned as head coach, setting a new undefeated record at the beginning of a U.S. MNT head coaching tenure.
- The previous mark was held by Bob Bradley, who guided the U.S. to an 11-match unbeaten run (10-0-1) to start his tenure in 2007.
- Omar Gonzalez’s 41st minute goal broke the ice and came two years and one day after his first, which also occurred in the Gold Cup Quarterfinals -- a 6-0 win vs. Cuba on July 18, 2015.
- The goal was Gonzalez’s second of the tournament and takes his career total to three, all of which have come in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
- Eric Lichaj’s strike in first-half stoppage time was his first career international goal.
- Michael Bradley’s assist on Gonzalez’s header was his 22nd in a U.S. shirt, tying him with Cobi Jones for second on the U.S. MNT’s all-time assist list.
- Clint Dempsey also climbed up the assist list. His pass to Lichaj was the 19th helper of his career, tying him with Claudio Reyna for fourth on the U.S. MNT’s all-time list.
- Gonzalez and Lichaj’s goals mark the first time two U.S. defenders have scored in the same match since Michael Orozco and Steve Birnbaum tallied in a 3-2 friendly win vs. Iceland on Jan. 31, 2016.
- For the second-straight match, Bruce Arena made 11 changes to the team that started against Nicaragua on Saturday.
- Five of the team’s six roster additions started the match: Altidore, Bradley, Dempsey, Howard and Nagbe.
- Nagbe celebrated his 27th birthday by making his Gold Cup debut for the USA. Wednesday. It was also substitute defender Matt Miazga’s 22nd birthday.
- Seven players made their first appearance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Knockout Round: Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Darlington Nagbe, Matt Hedges, Jordan Morris, Justin Morrow and Chris Pontius.
- Arena has utilized 27 of the 29 players that have been called in for the tournament. Only Sean Johnson (Group Stage goalkeeper) and Jesse Gonzalez have not appeared for the USA at the Gold Cup.
- Earning his 135th career appearance, Dempsey moved past Jeff Agoos and into sole possession of third on the USA’s all-time caps list, sitting behind only Cobi Jones (164) and Landon Donovan (157).
- Captain Michael Bradley made his 134th appearance, moving him into a tie with Agoos for fourth on the all-time list.
- Tim Howard earned his 11th CONCACAF Gold Cup appearance and first since June 25, 2011 vs. Mexico. The veteran goalkeeper made 1 save to keep his U.S. MNT record 59th career win as well as his 40th career clean sheet.
- Howard stays a perfect 6-0-0 all-time vs. El Salvador and now has four career shutouts against Los Cuscatlecos.
- Having partnered in last Wednesday’s 3-2 win vs. Martinique, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Hedges paired in central defense for the second time.
- The USA is 17-1-5 all-time vs. El Salvador and 14-0-2 on U.S. soil.
- The U.S. holds a 6-0-0 edge in Gold Cup play, outscoring Los Cuscatlecos 19-1.
- The USA has more wins in the CONCACAF Gold Cup than any other nation, going 54-8-9 all-time.
- The U.S. has gone 22-7-5 during the tournament’s Knockout Round.
- With a 16-1-4 record in the Gold Cup, Arena is also the winningest head coach all-time in the competition.
- The U.S. manager is 6-1-3 in the Knockout Round and 14-0-4 overall vs. CONCACAF opposition in the tournament.