United States vs. Honduras: Gold Cup Semifinal Preview, Viewing Info, Prediction
Wednesday July 24, 2013. Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET.
Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas
The quest for continental glory continues with a matchup of group winners in the Gold Cup semifinals Wednesday at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The U.S., which won Group C, will try to extend its winning streak to five matches in this competition and 10 overall against Group B winner Honduras.
At stake is a place in Sunday's final, which will be held at Soldier Field in Chicago. Here is a look at both teams ahead of what should be an entertaining semfinal.
Where to watch
In the U.S., the match will air live on Fox Soccer, UniMas and Univision Deportes.
For online viewers, Fox Soccer 2Go will carry a legal stream.
For those interested in viewing parties, USSoccer.com maintains a list of official U.S. Soccer bars located throughout the country.
The U.S. has won all four of its matches so far at the Gold Cup while outscoring opponents 16-3. The Americans have won nine straight matches in all competitions—a team record—since losing 4-2 to Belgium in a friendly in May.
Jurgen Klinsmann's team began the Gold Cup with a 6-1 victory over Belize in Group C. After defeating Cuba 4-1, the U.S clinched top spot in the group by beating Costa Rica 1-0.
In the quarterfinals, the U.S. routed El Salvador 5-1.
U.S. forward Chris Wondolowski is the tournament's joint-top scorer with five goals. (Panama's Manuel Gabriel Torres has also scored five.) Following Wondolowski, Landon Donovan has three goals along with six assists, and Joe Corona has scored twice.
Honduras topped Group B by winning two of three matches in the tournament's opening phase. After victories over Haiti (2-0) and El Salvador (1-0), the team's only blemish was a 2-0 loss to Trinidad and Tobago in the group finale.
In the quarterfinals, Honduras defeated Costa Rica 1-0.
Through four matches, Honduras has scored four goals via four different scorers: Andy Najar, Jorge Claros, Rony Martinez and Marvin Chavez.
USA player to watch: Landon Donovan
Since returning to the U.S. national team after his initially self-imposed hiatus, Donovan has been scintillating. In five games back, he has scored five goals and registered seven assists, per USSoccer. His three goals and six assists at the Gold Cup have raised his career totals to 54 goals and 55 assists, both of which are team records.
Sunday's 5-1 rout of El Salvador might have been Donovan's most impressive performance yet. Playing on his mother's 60th birthday, Donovan netted three assists and a goal in the 78th minute.
"I'm just having a lot of fun," Donovan told USA Today. "I'm enjoying myself."
Donovan, 31, might sound relaxed, but the reality is that he's fighting for a spot on Klinsmann's World Cup roster. After four impressive performances at the Gold Cup, he's likely already there.
But two more, in the semifinals and final, would make Klinsmann's decision that much easier—and might make Donovan the favorite to start ahead of incumbent Graham Zusi.
Honduras player to watch: Andy Najar
Najar, a speedy 20-year-old winger, is one of the Gold Cup's youngest players. He's also one of its most exciting.
Major League Soccer's rookie of the year in 2010, Najar (a recent Anderlecht signing) could have played for the U.S. if he had waited for eligibility. Instead, he chose in 2011 to represent Honduras, the country of his birth. On Sunday, playing in front of friends and family, he scored the winner as Honduras beat Costa Rica 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
It was his first international goal, though it surely won't be his last. After impressing at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Najar has a bright future ahead. With blinding speed along the touchlines, he is a handful for even the most experienced full-backs.
Which team will advance to the Gold Cup final?
Both squads have brought "B-teams" to the tournament, but as the scorelines so far suggest, the U.S. has shown much greater quality in depth. Donovan has returned to his former brilliant self, while Corona, Mix Diskerud, Jose Torres and Stuart Holden have given Klinsmann an abundance of options in the midfield.
The goals have dried up for Wondolowski following the first two games of the Gold Cup—both of which were against overmatched opponents—but the U.S. has continued scoring anyway. Don't expect that to stop here.
United States 3, Honduras 1
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