New England Soccer Today

Donovan hits milestone as U.S. crush Guatemala, 6-0

The United States Men’s National Soccer Team extended their winning streak to five games on Friday night with an emphatic 6-0 victory over Guatemala in front 25,080 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. Landon Donovan became the first American to reach 50 career international goals with a 55th minute penalty kick that made the game 2-0, and also recorded his 51st goal while extending the U.S. lead to 4-0 in the 74th minute.

The game served as the lone tune-up match for the U.S. before they kick off their Gold Cup campaign on Tuesday, July 9, with a Group C match against Belize at JELD-WEN Field in Portland, Ore.

With the U.S. taking a somewhat experimental squad to the Gold Cup, featuring a mix of veterans looking to fight their way back into the team and inexperienced players looking to leave an impression on head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, the team looked shaky out of the gates. Guatemala posed a threat in the 8th minute when Minor Lopez was played behind a poorly positioned backline by Sergio Trujillo. Lopez ran in on goal, but despite having space couldn’t direct his shot on frame.

Surprisingly, the Americans had few quality chances in the first half, but a great chance came off a Jose Torres corner kick in the 21st minute. Torres’ corner found Clarence Goodson, who powered a header on frame that Guatemala keeper Ricardo Jerez, Jr. failed to hold. The rebound fell to Kyle Beckerman, but the midfielder was unable to get any power on his close range shot and Jerez was able to recover.

The sloppy half continued for the U.S., but they came close in the 40th minute when DaMarcus Beasley found some space on the left flank and put in a dangerous cross that found Donovan. Donovan attempted to volley a low shot on frame from about 15 yards, but his effort rolled just wide of the far post.

Herculez Gomez finally put the U.S. in the lead in the 42nd minute when Torres sent in a cross from the left flank. Torres’ service fell at the far post where Gomez, unmarked, was able to slot it past Jerez to make it 1-0.

The U.S. came out of halftime a much more dominant force and Gomez looked to add to his tally in the 50th minute when Joe Corona found him with a perfect chip into the box. Gomez volleyed a shot on frame from about 15 yards out, but it was right at Jerez, who made the save.

The floodgates finally began to open when Donovan made it 2-0 in the 55th minute after he earned a penalty kick for the U.S. when he was pushed in the back trying to get on the end of a cross. Donovan stepped up to take the spot kick, sending the keeper the wrong way and hitting it down the middle. The goal made Donovan the first American ever and just the fourth CONCACAF player ever to reach 50 career international goals.

Substitute Chris Wondolowski extended the lead to three in the 72nd minute with his first career international goal after a fantastic run forward by Donovan. Donovan attempted to thread a pass through the defense and it took a fortuitous deflection to Wondolowski who found space in the box and slipped it past Jerez to make it 3-0.

Donovan then made it 4-0 two minutes later after some great build up play from Stuart Holden and Mikkel Diskerud. Holden played a perfect chip to Donovan in the box, who slotted it past Jerez for his second goal of the night and 51st of his international career.

The scoring continued in the 84th minute when Clarence Goodson managed to hammer in a Beasley corner kick on his second attempt to make it 5-0.

But the U.S. wasn’t done scoring yet, substitute Alejandro Bedoya – a former Boston College midfielder – completed the route, making it 6-0, when he finished off a cross from Brek Shea in the 87th minute.

The U.S. would finish the match with an impressive 65.3% share of the possession and 89% passing accuracy. The 6-0 victory was the nation’s largest since an 8-0 thrashing of Barbados in a 2008 World Cup Qualifier, the largest victory in U.S. history. Donovan, Beasley and Oguchi Onyewu were the only players to appear in both historic victories.

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