USA vs. El Salvador: Halftime score 2-1, Americans' dominant half spoiled by late penalty

USA TODAY Sports

The United States leads El Salvador 2-1 at halftime of their Gold Cup quarterfinal in Baltimore, MD, but the scoreboard does not represent just how much better the Americans have been. They have been absolutely fantastic and spent the opening 45 minutes battering La Selecta, but one late penalty gifted El Salvador a goal to bring the underdogs back into the match.

Clarence Goodson put the U.S. in front when a beautiful short corner kick play left him with a simple tap-in in the 21st minute. The play got Michael Parkhurst the ball 25 yards from goal and when El Salvador stepped forward, he hit a chip right onto the speeding Landon Donovan's chest. Donovan brought the ball down and crossed for Goodson, who was unmarked by a scrambling El Salvador defense and the Americans were 1-0 up.

Eight minutes later, Joe Corona added to the U.S. lead when he collected the ball 20 yards from goal, took a couple touches and fired home.

Joecorona_medium

With two goals, all of the possession and all of the chances, it looked like the U.S. was on its way to an easy win. They had quieted the sell-out crowd of largely El Salvador fans and were on cruise control, but then they fell apart on one play.

Three defenders had a chance to stop Rodolfo Zelaya as he dribbled across the Americans' box, but all whiffed. The fourth man with a chance to stop him, DaMarcs Beasley, they stepped in front of hi and impeding his progress, drawing the referee's whistle for an El Salvador penalty.

Beasley_medium

All Zelaya had to do from there was convert, which he did, and it was a match again. The U.S. had an advantage, but not quite the 2-0 lead they had or even the four-goal lead they could could have had if it wasn't for a slew of good saves by Dagoberto Portillo.

Now the U.S. heads to the second half with the match in the balance. Who would have guessed it 10 minutes before the break?

Follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter | Like SB Nation Soccer on Facebook

More in Soccer:

A taste of the Tottenham Hotspur academy

Tito Vilanova steps down as Barcelona boss

Stevan Jovetic moves to Manchester City

Transfer rumours from SB Nation and our team blogs

Full coverage of the NWSL

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.