The USMNT ready for Honduras in Gold Cup semifinal
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
The streaking national side will have its hands full with a dangerous Honduran side in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal in Dallas.
U.S. vs. Honduras
CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals
Wednesday, July 24, 2013; 4 p.m. PT; Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Fox Soccer, UniMas and Univision Deportes Network
For the third time in less than six months, the U.S. National Team will meet Honduras.
After splitting two matches in the CONCACAF region’s qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, they will square off again in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup Wednesday at 4 p.m. PT at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad is seeking its fifth straight Gold Cup finals appearance and first championship since 2007 and while they have twice bested Honduras in the Gold Cup semifinals (in 2005 and 2009), it is bound to be their stiffest test of this year’s tournament.
After breezing through the Group Stage with wins over Belize, Cuba and Costa Rica, the U.S. hammered El Salvador 5-1 in the quarterfinals on Sunday. LA Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan had one goal and three assists while Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson finished with one goal and one assist, scoring on his first touch as a 60th minute substitute.
The U.S. is now on a nine-match winning streak and Johnson is right in the middle of it all with two goals in his last three games. Since losing to Honduras in San Pedro Sula on February 6, the only loss for the U.S. came in a friendly against Belgium.
“The U.S. team has done extremely well,” said Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans, who started in America’s 1-0 win over Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium on June 18. “If you can beat a team by five, you beat that team by five. That’s the mentality I think they’re going with and it’s giving them confidence.”
Meanwhile, Honduras beat Haiti and El Salvador before falling 2-0 to Trinidad and Tobago in the Group Stage, their lone defeat coming to a side that nearly upset Mexico in the quarterfinals. “Los Catrachos” then snuck past Costa Rica 1-0 on a goal from former DC United midfielder Andy Najar.
Honduras has been up and down of late going 2-3-1 in the Hexagonal Round of World Cup qualifying with a win against the U.S. and a 2-2 draw at Estadio Azteca against Mexico. This after many of the players with the national team featured in the 2012 Olympics that saw Honduras reach the quarterfinals.
“They are very technical. They work the ball, but it’s a physical team that wants to get into hard tackles and make it difficult for you,” Evans said. “That’s their style and they’ve done well.”
The winner will advance to the final to meet the victors in the other semifinal match between Mexico and Panama. The final will be played on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.