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July 21, 2013
Takes command in U.S. 5-1 rout of El Salvador

By Charles Cuttone
Executive Editor

Landon Donovan put on a dominating performance as the United States routed El Salvador in a Gold Cup quarterfinal.
Landon Donovan put on a dominating performance as the United States routed El Salvador in a Gold Cup quarterfinal.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BALTIMORE---If Jurgen Klinsmann was looking for Landon Donovan to dominate a game before deciding if he should be back on the U.S. roster for the remainder of World Cup Qualifying, he doesn’t need to wait any more. Donovan set up three goals, played the dummy on another and scored on a brilliant run as the United States routed El Salvador 5-1 .

Donovan has now scored in six straight Gold Cup tournaments, and his career international totals stand at 54 goals and 55 assists.

The win advances the United States to the semifinal of the Gold Cup, where they will face the winner of the second game of Sunday’s sold out doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium, either Honduras or Costa Rica.

Clarence Goodson gave the United States the lead in the 21st minute. Donovan started the play deep on the right side, laying the ball back to Michael Parkhurst, who quickly chipped it back to him. Donovan played the ball off his chest and slipped the ball into the six yard box, providing an easy tap in for Goodson.

The goal was the fifth of Goodson’s international career. His first also came in the Gold Cup, in 2009 against Panama.

Eight minutes later, Joe Corona made it 2-0. Chris Wondolowski made a short pass to Corona at the edge of the penalty area. Using Donovan as a shield, Corona did a little stutter step before slamming the ball into the lower left side of the net. Corona also scored against El Salvador in last year’s Olympic Qualifying, netting the final goal in a 3-3 draw that eliminated the U.S.

El Salvador came back in the 39th minute, after Damarcus Beasely was called for a foul in the penalty area. Rodolfo Zelaya was dribbling across the penalty area, doing well to control the ball. His last touch allowed the ball to get a little out of his reach. Beasley stepped in front of the El Salvadoran attacker, who ran into him and went down. Referee Enrico Wijngaarde immediately pointed to the spot. Zelaya completely sent U.S. goalkeeper Nick Rimando going the other way, putting the ball into the lower right corner.

Eddie Johnson made his mark on the game just 14 seconds after coming in as a substitute for Wondolowski. Donovan and Jose Torres played a short corner from the near side. Donovan swung the ball into the area and Johnson went up in a crowd and slammed a header into the net.

After setting up two goals, Donovan finally got one of his own in the 78th minute. Johnson flicked a header in the path of the onrushing Donovan. He turned up the speed a notch cut to the right and sent the ball past a scrambling Dagoberto Portillo.

Six minutes later, Donovan again played provider, running a ball down to the end line and sending a cross into the area. Mix Diskerud headed the ball past Portillo.

Rimando made great back-to-back saves on El Salvador’s best chances of the first half in the 26th minute. Andres Flores fired the first shot down the middle of the penalty area. Rimando went to ground to make the stop. The rebound went out to Zelaya, who went searching for the lower right corner of the net. The Real Salt Lake goalkeeper dove full out to push the ball away from the post.

El Salvador opened the second half with some brilliant playmaking. In the 49th minute, Kevin Santamaria got some space in the area, but sent his shot well over the bar. Moments later, Zelaya sent a shot off the post.

But it was the U.S. that really put the foot on the gas in the second half. In addition to the three goals, the Americans had many close calls. In the 66th minute, Kyle Beckerman took a shot from the top of the area. Portillo made a save but the rebound fell to Donovan, who shot just wide.

A minute later, Johnson shanked a shot just wide from inside the area. In the 71st minute, Johnson played a ball from the right side into the area for Donovan, who stretched to get a touch on it, sending it wide.

Donovan had two great chances for a second goal in the 86th minute, but Portillo stopped it. The rebound fell to Donovan, and his second effort was cleared off the line by Victor Turcios.

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