New England Soccer Today

U.S. Advances to Semifinals

Photo credit: U.S. Soccer

The United States advanced to the Gold Cup semifinals Wednesday after they soundly defeated El Salvador 2-0 on a muggy night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The Americans found offense from unexpected sources, as defenders Omar Gonzalez (41st minute) and Eric Lichaj (45+2 minute) tallied the goals. Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, who both made their tournament debuts, each chipped in with an assist.

The U.S. dodged an early a disaster after a rogue pass back to the keeper led to an El Salvador breakaway in the third minute. Tested early in his first game of the tournament, U.S. keeper Tim Howard charged out of goal and broke up the play.

With the crisis averted, the U.S. rebounded well and appeared to strike first in the 17th minute, as Gyasi Zardes broke free into the left side of the box unmarked and placed a shot past the keeper into the net. However, the Americans had to halt their celebrations as Zardes was flagged for offside, despite replay suggesting otherwise.

In the 41st minute, the U.S. found the net for certain, as a long free kick from Michael Bradley found Gonzalez on the doorstep, where he nodded through his third career international goal to break the scoreless draw.

Minutes later, it was Lichaj’s turn to play the role of goalscorer after sliding a shot through Derby Carrillo’s legs. Lichaj made a run through the center of the field, going unmarked and slipping behind the defense before Clint Dempsey led him into the box with a through ball.

Staring at a two goal deficit going into the second half, El Salvador turned up the aggression – physically and tactically – but were unsuccessful in finding the net. They became reckless in their challenges and resorted to violent tactics at times, while also relying on long balls in getting behind the USA back line. The results led to four yellow cards and a handful of half-chances, but no goals for Los Cuscatlecos.

With the victory, the U.S. advances to the semifinals on Saturday where they will face Costa Rica, who booked their spot to the semifinal on a 1-0 victory over Panama.

Leave a Reply