RJ DEMELLO - Saturday, July 6, 2013
Two goals from Landon Donovan and a strong second half performance led the United States to a big victory over Guatemala Friday at Qualcomm Stadium.
Guatemala came out from the start keeping numbers behind the ball and pressing the Americans far up the field.
The visitor's pressure paid off early causing Jose Torres to turn over the ball in the eighth minute, with a chance from Minor Lopez ending up flying wide of Nick Rimando's goal.
The US had a great chance in the 21st minute off of a Jose Torres corner kick when the ball met Goodson who powered his header on goal. Ricardo Jerez was there to save well but the Alianza Petrolera man spilled a rebound that fell to Kyle Beckerman. With the ball bouncing the Real Salt Lake player could not connect on his attempt and Jerez was able to smother the ball.
The US had another solid chance in the 39th minute through Landon Donovan. Damarcus Beasley played a quality cross in from the left that Donovan got his left foot on but he guided it just wide of the far post.
Herculez Gomez' hard work was rewarded in the 41st minute, putting the US up 1-0. Torres played in a great ball that just missed Joe Corona, but continued on to a wide open Gomez at the far post. The Tijuana forward blasted in from close range to finally provide the breakthrough for the Stars and Stripes.
The second half actions started quickly with Corona in the 50th minute chipping in a ball the Gomez leaped and volleyed in the air from about six yards but the Guatemalan keeper was up to the challenge.
The United States' improved play in the second half paid dividends four minutes later when Donovan drew a penalty for a push on the back in the box. The Galaxy man stepped up and sent the ball right down the middle from the spot for his 50th international goal.
In the 71st minute Donovan turned provider on the United States' third goal. The veteran turned and ran at the Guatemalan defense, playing a through ball to Chris Wondolowski in the box. The ball deflected off of a Guatemalan defender and right to the feet of the San Jose Earthquake who made no mistake from about the penalty spot, placing the ball into the bottom right corner.
Only a minute later Donovan put back on his goal scoring hat finish from close range. Holden got a ball back from Wondolowski on the right and chipped in a beautiful cross that Donovan side footed into the bottom left corner from eight yards out.
The US pressure only continued with Clarence Goodson even getting in on the goal scoring act in the 83rd minute. Beasley sent in a corner that was knocked down to Goodson who fired a side volley on goal. His initial shot was saved but the rebound rolled around inside the six yard box, eventually getting scuffed out but only back to Goodson who roofed his shot from three yards out.
Five minutes later substitute Alejandro Bedoya put away a chance to give the US their sixth in the 88th minute. Holden played another great ball, this time to Shea on the left. His low cross found no one initially but continued to roll across the box and eventually Bedoya ran onto the ball and blasted a first time side footed shot into the back of the net.
The United States now head to Portland to open up their 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign against Belize at JELD-WEN Field on Tuesday night.