Don’t call it a comeback – he’s been here for years.
Landon Donovan, once thought by some to be washed up on the National Team scene, scored twice and assisted to spear the United States Men’s National Team to convincing 3-1 win over Honduras in the Gold Cup semifinals at Cowboys Stadium on Wednesday.
The all-time leading scorer in National Team lore added two more to his sterling resume in the 27th and 53rd minutes, and assisted on Eddie Johnson’s opening tally in the 11th minute. Nery Medina scored the Catrachos lone goal in the 53rd minute.
The win sends the U.S. to Sunday’s final, where they’ll play Panama at Soldier Field in Chicago.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was ejected by the referee in the 87th minute, and his status for the final is currently uncertain, as CONCACAF will issue a decision on the issue in the coming days.
Right from the opening whistle, Jurgen Klinsmann’s pounced on every opporunity they could find to etch their names on the scoresheet. Stuart Holden and Jose Torres found space to operate, and Holden ripped a 7th minute blast that screamed over the bar.
Holden’s effort served as a warning, but Honduras didn’t heed it very well moments later. On a quickly-developing sequence, Donovan fed it to Johnson, who barrelled into the 18 and beat two defenders before depositing it into the net in the 11th minute.
The U.S. nearly made it 2-0 in in the 16th minute when Holden found a similar chance when he exploited a breach in the Honduras back line and was nearly clear through before a Juan Carlos Garcia elbow to the face felled him, without a glance from the referee
Nevetheless, the U.S. exacted its revenge in the 27th minute when Alejandro Bedoya found Donovan inside the 18, where the Galaxy midfielder chested it down, then fired away to make it a two-goal advantage.
Honduras brought one back in the opening minutes of the second half when Marvin Chavez steered a free kick in Medina’s direction, and the defender didn’t miss on his header, which escaped the reach of Nick Rimando in the 52nd minute.
The U.S. answered right back seconds later thwne Clarence Goodson played one over the top for Bedoya. From there, the former Boston College midfielder ran to to the near post before sliding it wide for Donovan, who tapped it through in the 53rd minute.
The Catrachos found glimpses to get back in the game in the latter stages. Jerry Palacios fired a close-range shot that deflected off a defender, while Chavez fired another free kick near the edge of the 18 that was hauled in by Rimando in the stoppage time.
In the end, though, Honduras didn’t have enough, and the U.S. punched its ticket for the final in Sunday, even with Klinsmann forced to watch the closing minutes from the locker room.