July 5, 2013
A BRILLIANT RETURN
Donovan's 2nd-half brace helps USA to 6-0 win over Guatemala in Gold Cup tune-up
SAN DIEGO -- Guess who's back?
|Landon Donovan made his return to the U.S. National Team, with two goals.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Landon, that's who.
Midfielder Landon Donovan celebrated his return to the U.S. National Team with a second-half brace, which sparked the Americans to an emphatic 6-0 victory over Guatemala in their one and only tune-up for the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Friday night.
Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski, Clarence Goodson and Alejandro Bedoya also tallied for the USA, which won the first time in San Diego. The Americans entered the match with a 0-5-2 record in this southern California city. The Americans improved to 14-4-6 against the Guatemalans, who did not qualify for the Gold Cup.
Goalkeeper Nick Rimando recorded the shutout at QualComm Stadium.
Donovan, who took a long break from soccer -- club and international -- in the off-season, played in his first game for the USA since a 1-0 win at Mexico last Aug. 12.
For the first time in its history, the USA started five players from the Liga MX -- defender DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla) and midfielders Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Joe Corona (Puebla) and Jose Torres (Tigres) and striker Herculez Gomez (Club Tijuana).
The Americans did not give much of an indication that the game would end in a rout. Guatemala had a couple of early opportunities as Jonathan Lopez sent a shot over the cross 67 seconds into the match and Minor Lopez fired his attempt wide right in the eighth minute.
Slowly, but surely the USA gained more possession of the ball and started to get some chances. Landon Donovan floated in a corner kick that goalkeeper Ricardo Jerez dropped on the far side of the penalty area, but a defender cleared the ball out of harm's way in the 21st minute.
The Americans started to pick up the pace to find some room as Donovan came close in the 39th minute as he flicked a feed from left back DaMarcus Beasley from seven yards wide right.
Gomez finally broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute. Midfielder Jose Torres sent in a left-wing cross to an onrushing Herculez Gomez, who fired a three-yard shot into the far right corner for his sixth international goal and a 1-0 USA advantage.
U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden, who replaced Torres at the half, tried to double the hosts' advantage in the 49th minute when he smacked a 35-yard shot that traveled wide left.
The hosts managed to increase their lead to 2-0 on Donovan's penalty kick in the 55th minute. Only moments prior, the LA Galaxy standout was taken down in the box by defender Carlos Castrillo. On the ensuing penalty, Donovan chipped his attempt into the center of the goal as he became the first American men's player to reach 50 international goals.
Wondolowski, a second-half substitute, boosted the hosts to a 3-0 margin with his first international goal in the 71st minute. Donovan sent a forward pass that deflected off a defender to Wondolowski, who powered a 12-yard shot home.
A minute before he was replaced by Will Bruin, Donovan struck for goal No. 51 as he scored off a right-wing feed from Holden in the 72nd minute.
Goodson put in his own rebound in the 84th minute before Bedoya closed out the scoring four minutes later.
The USA will take on Belize in its Gold Cup opener in Portland, Ore. on Tuesday, face Cuba in Sandy, Utah on Saturday, July 13 and finish its Group C action against Costa Rica in Hartford, Conn. on July 16.