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July 23, 2009
US manhandles Honduras, 2-0, in Gold Cup semi

Stuart Holden had a breakout game for the USA, setting up both goals against Honduras.
Stuart Holden had a breakout game for the USA, setting up both goals against Honduras.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
CHICAGO—Stuart Holden set up goals by Clarence Goodson and Kenny Cooper as the United States won their Gold Cup semifinal rematch with Honduras 2-0 Thursday night at Soldier Field.

The US, who also defeated Honduras 2-0 in Gold Cup group play on July 7, will face Mexico -- who needed penalty kicks to defeat Costa Rica in Thursday's other semifinal --in Sunday’s final at Giants Stadium.

Goodson came the tenth different US player to score in the tournament with a header off Holden’s corner kick in first-half stoppage time. Robbie Rogers set the stage, picking off a pass in the backfield and bringing it down the left side before taking a shot that was blocked out of bounds by Catrachos ‘keeper Donis Escobar. Holden’s right-side corner kick floated to Goodson, who connected from the top edge of the six-yard box.

Escobar kept Honduras in the game into the closing minutes, before surrendering the backbreaker to Cooper in stoppage time. Brian Ching controlled the ball in a crowd on the left side of the area, then found Holden with a short backheel. The Houston Dynamo midfielder sent a pass across the goalmouth to Cooper, who was waiting alone near the post for a point-blank finish. It was the second time in the tournament that Cooper came off the bench to score.

The USA outshot Honduras 17-4, starting with Jay Heaps’ diving header off a corner kick in the second minute. The game-winner came off of Goodson’s second solid look at goal, after a far post header went into the side netting in the 16th.

US netminder Troy Perkins saw little action in the early going, but was ready when needed, parrying a dipping shot from Marvin Chavez over the bar in the 20th minute.

If the Americans held their own through the first 45 minutes, they exploded in the second, challenging Escobar with shot after shot—Holden’s header in the 47th minute, Chad Marshall’s close-in attempt in the 49th, a long bomb from Davy Arnaud in the 56th, Holden again in the 57th, and on and on.

Honduras finally seemed to pull together defensively around the 70th minute, but managed little in the way of offense. Carlo Costly, who picked up a yellow card for diving in the box in the 77th minute, got free in the box in the 82nd. But his first touch was too heavy, and the poorly angled shot went straight to Perkins. The Catrachos’ last best chance to level things at 1-1 came in the 84th minute, when substitute Roger Espinoza chipped a ball into the box for Costly. Perkins blocked the point-blank shot, and Jay Heaps blocked Costly’s follow-up attempt.

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