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U.S. Men's National Team Advances to CONCACAF Gold Cup Final with 2-0 Win Against Honduras in Chicago


CHICAGO (July 23, 2009) — The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final for the third time in a row and seventh overall with a clinical 2-0 victory against Honduras in the semifinals this evening behind goals from Clarence Goodson and Kenny Cooper at Soldier Field in Chicago.  Troy Perkins recorded his third shutout of the Gold Cup and his second against Honduras, making two spectacular saves to preserve the clean sheet.

The U.S. will be looking for their third straight regional championship on Sunday, July 26 at 3 p.m. ET at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. against Mexico. This will be the fourth meeting between the U.S. and Mexico in the Gold Cup final. The U.S. lost to Mexico 4-0 in 1993 and 1-0 in 1998, but defeated their arch rival 2-1 in the last Gold Cup final in 2007, which earned them a spot in the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Sunday's match will be broadcast live on Fox Soccer Channel, Univision and the Futbol de Primera Radio Networks. Fans can also follow the match live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer.  The U.S. will be playing in their second consecutive tournament final following their second place finish in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

"We are very pleased with the effort tonight, but also know the job isn't done." said U.S. head coach Bob Bradley. "We knew from the start of this tournament that it was a great opportunity for a lot of players, but we also made it very clear that we are defending champions, so it was with that idea that we got started and we have gone about it the same way we do every time we come together.  We are now looking forward to the chance to accomplish our goal of winning the tournament.”

The victory against Honduras was the third in seven weeks for the U.S., as they also defeated the Central American side in group play of the Gold Cup by the identical score of 2-0 and also on June 6 in a World Cup qualifier, a 2-1 victory at Soldier Field. The U.S. is now 10-2-3 all-time against Honduras.

After pressuring Honduras but getting limited opportunities for most of the first half, the U.S. was able to capitalize on their sixth corner kick during injury time when Goodson got on the end of Stuart Holden’s precise service. The close-range header was Goodson’s first international goal, giving the U.S. six players that have accomplished that feat during the 2009 Gold Cup and their 10th different goalscorer in this tournament.

Combined with some clutch saves from goalkeeper Troy Perkins, the U.S. continued to control the game in the second half, but once again wasn’t able to capitalize until almost the final moment when a nice sequence of passes provided an easy tap-in for Cooper.

The U.S. opened the match on the front foot and earned the first clear chance of the game in just the second minute. Holden swung in a corner from the right side where Jay Heaps beat his man to the near post but, his diving header was deflected just wide.

The U.S. attack continued as Robbie Rogers found himself with space on the left flank in the 10th minute. He sent an early cross into the box where Brian Ching had lost his marker at the penalty spot. Wearing the captain’s armband for the first time in this career, Ching connected well with his header, but the ball failed to hit the target going wide of the left post.

Honduras then began to find their footing and put together a spell of possession but did not threaten Perkins’ goal. The U.S. hit back with a Holden free kick in the 15th minute after a foul about 30 yards from goal. He sent in a curling cross from the right to the back post for Goodson, who headed sharply down but into the side netting.

The Honduran response would nearly see Los Catrachos take the lead in the 20th minute. A long ball from the back was flicked on by the Honduran frontline to Marvin Chavez on the right sideline. He cut inside Heath Pearce and hit a dipping drive which Perkins did very well to keep out of the corner of the net as he tipped it onto the crossbar and out for a corner.

Play continued with neither side finding the breakthrough goal. The middle stages of the first half saw the U.S. establish control in the midfield with Holden and Rogers active on the wings. In addition, Kyle Beckerman and Logan Pause worked well in the center of the park breaking up any potential counterattacks. The American dominance would nearly payoff in the 44th minute as Ching had a half chance from a turn and volley inside the area; however, his shot was deflected onto the crossbar by a Honduran foot.

Minutes later, Bradley’s men would capitalize on their sustained pressure. Holden took another corner from the right in first half stoppage time. Goodson rose above everyone at the edge of the six yard box to power his header into the back of the net. The goal not only sent the Americans into halftime with the lead, but it was an important psychological blow leaving the Hondurans deflated after giving up a goal so late in the half.

That surge of momentum from the U.S. remained evident from the beginning stages of the second half. Chad Marshall, Davy Arnaud, and Holden all had chances within the first 12 minutes, but Donis Escobar was equal to the challenge and made fine saves on all three attempts.

Shortly after in the 58th minute, Honduras earned a free kick on the left of the U.S. penalty area. They worked a short combination from the kick which lead to a Walter Martinez blast at Perkins from an acute angle. The ‘keeper did well to hang on inside his own six-yard box. Play continued with some physical exchanges as Rogers and Nery Medina clashed heads in midfield. Moments later, Erick Norales took a teammate’s elbow to the face defending a U.S. corner kick. The breaks in action seemed to disrupt the ebb and flow of play which culminated in a yellow card to Carlo Costly for simulating a foul just inside the American penalty area.

The Honduran striker would not be discouraged, and in the 85th minute he finally found an opening in the airtight central defensive pairing of Goodson and Marshall. A quick combination of short passes found Costly alone behind the defense at the top of the area. However, danger was deftly averted as Perkins was out quickly to smother his shot and Jay Heaps cleared the resulting rebound.

One minute later, Cooper came on for Arnaud. He immediately made his presence felt by winning a free kick on the right flank after some fine footwork. Marshall nearly converted the subsequent kick at the far post, clearly demonstrating the American’s desire to search out the second goal and kill off the match.

They would do just that in the 90th minute as the other U.S. substitute, Santino Quaranta, broke free through the midfield after a turnover. The ball found its way out to Holden on the right. He found Ching inside the penalty area, and the captain did well to hold off his defender to provide time for Holden to make his darting run and then rewarded him with a sweet back heel pass. Holden then calmly slid the ball across to Cooper for the tap in, the forward netting his second goal of the Gold Cup off of Holden’s second assist of the match.

- U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM MATCH REPORT -

Match: United States vs. Honduras
Date: July 23, 2009
Competition: CONCACAF Gold Cup – Semifinal
Venue: Soldier Field - Chicago
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Attendance: 55,173
Weather: 75, cloudy

Scoring Summary:    1    2     F
USA                               1    1     2
HON                              0    0      0

USA – Clarence Goodson (Stuart Holden) 45+ minute
USA – Kenny Cooper (Stuart Holden) 90

Lineups:
USA: 1-Troy Perkins; 16-Jay Heaps, 4-Chad Marshall, 3-Clarence Goodson, 2-Heath Pearce; 10-Stuart Holden, 8-Logan Pause, 5-Kyle Beckerman, 7-Robbie Rogers (20-Santino Quaranta, 75); 11-Brian Ching (capt.), 22-Davy Arnaud (17-Kenny Cooper, 86)
Subs not used: 13-Colin Clark, 14-Michael Parkhurst,15-Sam Cronin, 18-Luis Robles, 21-Brad Evans
Head Coach: Bob Bradley

HON: 22-Donis Escober; 5-Erick Norales, 11-Mariano Acevedo, 2-Osman Chavez (24-Georgie Welcome, 86), 16-Nery Medina; 14-Carlos Palacios, 15-Walter Martinez (23-Roger Espinoza, 80), 18-Melvin Valladares (8-Allan Lalin, 90), 10-Marvin Chavez; 13-Carlos Costly, 9-Carlos Will Mejia,
Subs not used: 3-David Molina, 4-Johnny Palacios, 12-Ricardo Canales, 17-Miguel Castillo
Head Coach: Reinaldo Rueda

Stats Summary: USA / HON
Shots: 17 / 10
Shots on Goal: 10 / 4
Saves: 4 / 8
Corner Kicks: 10 / 5
Fouls: 12 / 12
Offsides: 2 / 4

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Logan Pause (caution)          38th minute
USA – Kyle Beckerman (caution)     48
USA – Davy Arnaud (caution)            75
HON – Carlo Costly (caution)           77


Officials:
Referee: Courtney Campbell (JAM)
Assistant Referee 1: Ricardo Morgan (JAM)
Assistant Referee 2: Anthony Garwood (JAM)
Fourth Official: Marco Rodriguez (MEX)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match:
Troy Perkins

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