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Gold Cup in History: Big vs. Small, 2005

The United States hoped to recapture the Gold Cup title by winning the 2005 edition of the confederation championship. With persistence and determination, the U.S. went undefeated in tournament play with valiant come-from-behind efforts and a penalty kick final finish to collect their third Gold Cup title. 

Dates: July 6-July 24, 2002
Locations: Foxborough, Mass., East Rutherford, N.J., Carson, Calif., Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and Houston

The 2005 Gold Cup fell in the middle of qualifying games for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. The United States did not enter the tournament with their top veterans, which gave head coach Bruce Arena the opportunity to evaluate and train some newer players.

“This is a great opportunity to further the continuity of our group, and to get a chance to look at players in meaningful matches,” said Arena. “We have a blend of experience and some new faces, and these games will be very important in terms of formulating our roster for the rest of qualifying. We are certainly entering the tournament with the goal of winning the competition.”

The 2005 Gold Cup featured 10 teams from CONCACAF and two additional teams, Colombia and South Africa, who were invited to compete. For this edition of the tournament, the teams were split into three groups of four teams, allowing for an extra game of group play. The top two teams from each group and the top two third place teams overall would advance to the knockout round. The U.S. was drawn into Group B along with Costa Rica, Canada and Cuba.

Team  GP  W  D  L  GF  GA  GD  Pts 
USA  +5 
Costa Rica  +3 
Canada  -2 
Cuba  -6 

Date: July 6, 2005
Location: Qwest Field - Seattle
Attendance: 15,831

The United States entered the match against Cuba with an all-time record of 4-1-1 against their island neighbors, with three shutouts all earned in Gold Cup competition.

Result: The U.S. fell behind early when Cuba drew first blood in the 18th minute.  Clint Dempsey responded with a goal in the 45th minute, sending the teams to the locker room tied at the half. It appeared the U.S. might only pull a point out of the meeting, but Landon Donovan energized the team and supplied the game-winner off a free kick in the 87th minute. Three minutes later, DaMarcus Beasley buried a strike past the goalkeeper and Donovan netted his second goal two minutes into injury time. The three goals in a six-minute span gave the U.S. their come-from-behind win.

Date: July 8, 2005
Location: Qwest Field - Seattle
Attendance: 15,109
Result: W 2-0 (o.g. 48’, Donovan 90’)

Date: July 11, 2005
Location: Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Mass.
Attendance: 15,211
Result: 0-0

Date: July 16, 2005
Location: Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Mass.
Attendance: 22,108

The U.S. went undefeated in their group, continuing their impressive unbeaten streak in Gold Cup play. The U.S. entered the quarterfinals against Jamaica, who finished third in Group C behind Mexico and South Africa. The match did not look promising for Jamaica, as they had never defeated a U.S. team boasting an 8-0-7 all-time record with eight shutouts against the Reggae Boyz.

Result: The U.S. defeated Jamaica 3-1, taking the lead early with a goal from Josh Wolff in the 6th minute. Beasley added insurance goals in the 42nd and 83rd minutes. Jamaica’s only response came late in the 88th minute, but the U.S. had already secured their spot in the semifinals.

“It turned out exactly like we wanted,” said Beasley. “Our game plan worked perfectly. It was crazy we didn’t score more goals. We had a lot of chances, but at the same time, we are starting to get more creative options. Hopefully we can keep moving in the right direction of creating chances and scoring goals.”

Date: July 21, 2005
Location: Giants Stadium - East Rutherford, N.J.
Attendance: 41,721

The day before the semifinal match against Honduras, the USA discovered that newly published FIFA rankings had elevated the team to number six in the world. The group looked to ride their confidence against Honduras, against whom they had a 6-2-3 all-time edge.

Result: The United States defeated Honduras 2-1 in a come-from-behind effort. In the 30th minute, Honduras knocked in the first goal of the game. The U.S. would not respond until the 86th minute when John O’Brien tucked the ball past the goalkeeper after a defender poked the ball directly in front of him. Two minutes into injury time, Oguchi Onyewu scored his first international goal off a diving header that skimmed off the underside of the crossbar.  The win marked the latest come-from-behind triumph in modern history.

 “We needed to get [Gooch] into the mix,” said Arena, who was ejected from the game in the 59th minute after arguing a minor foul call. “Every time we’ve given him these opportunities, he’s taken advantage of them.”

 “It was a good win for our players. They played exceptionally well in the second half. They were great goals by John O’Brien and Gooch. Overall, it was a good win.”

Date: July 24, 2005
Location: Giants Stadium -  East Rutherford, N.J.
Attendance: 31,018

Panama defeated Colombia 3-2 to join the U.S. in the Gold Cup final. The U.S. was in their fifth final, setting a CONCACAF record for the most appearances in the championship game. The U.S. had never lost to Panama, who was the smallest nation to compete, and held an all-time 3-0-2 record. The U.S. team would be without their head coach Bruce Arena, who was ejected in the semifinals game. Assistant coach Glenn Myernick stepped in for the title game.

Result: After a grueling 120 minutes, the U.S. and Panama remained scoreless. The U.S. downed Panama 3-1 in penalty kicks with an outstanding performance by goalkeeper Kasey Keller. Keller saved Panama’s first attempt, and then got some help from the crossbar and a clear miss over the frame. On the U.S. end, Santino Quaranta and Donovan buried their attempts from the spot before Brad Davis secured the victory with a well-placed shot to the right corner.

“Every single game in this tournament Kasey Keller made a big play for us. He has shown his quality the whole time,” said assistant coach Glenn Myernick.

“First of all, congratulations to coach (Jose) Hernandez and the Panama team. They had a fantastic tournament and put forth a valiant effort today. At the end of it, both teams were fatigued and, fortunately, we were able to come out ahead. I was very proud of the team’s effort today. They deserved to win the championship.”

The U.S. won its third Gold Cup title in 2005, and DaMarcus Beasley took the Golden Boot for his three goals. The U.S. was within just one title of CONCACAF leader Mexico and looked to the 2007 tournament to tie the record.