The United States is heading to the Gold Cup semifinals after pummeling El Salvador 5-1 in Baltimore, MD on Sunday. Five different players scored for the Americans, including Landon Donovan, who also had three assists in the easy quarterfinal win.
Things could have been even worse for El Salvador, who were never really in the match despite some goalkeeping heroics from Dagoberto Portillo and a sell-out crowd of 71,000, most of whom were clad in blue and white. The U.S. was simply sensational, dominating the midfield and creating chance after chance to put them in front before pouring it on late with three goals in the last 30 minutes,
Clarence Goodson put the U.S. in front when a short corner kick play undid the El Salvador defense. Michael Parkhurst collected the ball 25 yards out before chipping for Donovan, who crossed for a wide open Goodson in front. The scrambling El Salvador defense was nowhere near Goodson, who tapped the ball in for the opening goal.
Joe Corona added to the U.S. lead just before the half-hour mark with a couple calm touches to create space and a good finish that should have put El Salvador away.
But El Salvador didn't go away after Corona's goal. They didn't play much better, but the U.S. made one mistake at the back and let La Selecta back in the match. Three defenders failed to stop Rodolfo Zelaya then DaMarcus Beasley took him down in the box for a sure-fire penalty. The referee blew his whistle and Zelaya converted the spot kick and all of a sudden, the U.S. was back in a dogfight.
The second half started much like the first, only the Americans couldn't break through. Their chances went begging and then the tempo slowed, leading Jurgen Klinsmann to bring Eddie Johnson in. That solved the problem.
14 seconds after coming in as a substitute in the 60th minute, Johnson skied above the El Salvador defense to head home the Americans' third goal and all was well for the U.S.
The U.S. had some breathing room and El Salvador was broken, leading to a romp in the final 30 minutes. Landon Donovan added another goal in the 78th minute before Mix Diskerud wrapped things up six minutes from time, with a chance after chance in between as the U.S. easily played their way into the semifinals.
The Americans will be back in action on Wednesday when they play the winner of Costa Rica vs. Honduras for a spot in next Sunday's final