After some exciting action in the quarterfinals, the semifinals of the 2013 Gold Cup are now set with the United States and Honduras in one match and Mexico against Panama in the other.
Here is how each team got there and a preview of the semifinal matchups.
United States v. Honduras
The United States advanced to the semifinals with a dominant 5-1 win over an outmatched El Salvador. So far in the tournament, the U.S. has outscored its opposition 16-3 on its way to four straight wins. The win over El Salvador came courtesy of goals by Clarence Goodson, Joe Corona, Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan and Mix Diskerud in front of a predominantly pro-El Salvador crowd in Baltimore, Maryland.
Honduras advanced to the semifinal via a 1-0 win over Costa Rica. The game-winning goal was scored by former D.C. United product Andy Najar. Honduras advanced to the knockout round by going 2-1 in group play with wins over Haiti and El Salvador while losing to Trinidad and Tobago.
While both teams are fielding largely “B” rosters, the U.S.’ advantage in squad depth has become obvious throughout the tournament. Even missing regulars like Tim Howard, Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, the U.S. has been dominating its opposition. Americans Joe Corona, Mix Diskerud, Stuart Holden and Jose Torres have been playing well enough to earn call-ups to the U.S.’ full squad and the U.S. also has veterans like Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley on the squad and playing well. Kyle Beckerman is having the tournament of his life, Nick Rimando has been solid in the net and defensive reinforcements in Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler have joined the squad for the knockout rounds.
Honduras, meanwhile, is missing most of its key stars as well, but does not have the depth to replace them. Missing from Los Catrachos are regulars Victor Bernardez, Maynor Figueroa, Wilson Palacios, Boniek Garcia, Roger Espinoza, Carlo Costly and Jerry Bengston.
The U.S.-Honduras match kicks off on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FOX Soccer, UniMas and Univision Deportes.
Panama vs. Mexico
Mexico advances to the semifinals after a 1-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago with the lone goal coming from Raul Jimenez. Mexico finished group play second in Group A after wins over Canada and Martinique and a loss to Panama.
Panama advances to the semifinals after beating Cuba 6-1 on goals from Carlos Rodriguez, Jairo Jimenez and two each from Blas Perez and Gabriel Torres. Panama won Group A by beating Mexico and Martinique and drawing with Canada.
Because of the 2013 Confederations Cup, Mexico is missing almost all of its first-team regulars including Jose de Jesus Corona, Carlos Salcido, Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Hector Moreno, Jorge Torres Nilo, Gerardo Torrado, Andres Guardado, Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez.
Panama, unlike the rest of the teams in the semifinals, has most of its first-team regulars including the bulk of players they used in their recent June World Cup qualifying games.
Mexico will be looking for revenge after losing 2-1 to Panama in group play, but some pundits still have Panama with the edge.
The Panama-Mexico game kicks off at 10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FOX Soccer, UniMas and Univision Deportes.
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