USA vs. Honduras: Americans Who Must Improve Heading into Gold Cup Semifinals

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2013

PORTLAND, OR - JULY 09:  Clarence Goodson #21 of the United States kicks the ball against Belize during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 9, 2013 at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

As a team, the United States has been dominant to this point in the Gold Cup. However, there are certain players performing better than others.

Key performers like Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski and Joe Corona have helped the squad outscore opponents 16-3 in four wins. The only problem is that the competition gets harder from here on out.

Honduras defeated Costa Rica in the quarterfinals, which is the only team to give the Americans trouble in this tournament. The squad is strong defensively and can score at any point with a counter-attack. 

The U.S. could be in trouble if it does not get an improved performance out of these players.

Brek Shea

Entering the Gold Cup, Brek Shea had an opportunity to showcase the ability that helped him become one of the top young prospects in the country. However, he has failed to do that over the past week.

Shea has made one start in the tournament against Cuba, and he seemed to barely justify his spot on the roster in that match. He continually missed passes and was unable to set anything up for his teammates.

In his other appearances, the midfielder has come off the bench and, with the exception of his huge goal against Costa Rica, has generally been invisible.

Although the one score was a big one, he still has a lot to prove in the coming matches. 

Clarence Goodson

While Clarence Goodson did score the first goal of the quarterfinals against El Salvador, the center-back is there for his defense. On the end of the pitch, he struggled more than he should have.

He committed a foul deep in the zone that led to a yellow card. Fortunately it did not hurt the team, but it certainly did not help. There were other times where he was out of position, which is something that has been a theme for him over the past few months for the national team.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann decided to bring in reinforcements on defense after the group stage, partly due to the ineffectiveness of the players already on the roster. With Goodson's inconsistency, it is hard to imagine that his playing time is secure.

Goodson came into this tournament with a chance to earn a starting spot on the World Cup roster, but he will need to perform much better in the next match or two to help his case.

DaMarcus Beasley

There is less of a concern about DaMarcus Beasley than the other two on the list, but the left-back has not lived up to his potential in this tournament.

The veteran has excellent speed and uses it to catch opponents off-guard on offense. Unfortunately, he has been a bit out of control and is losing the ball as often as he is making positive contributions.

This lack of control also carried over to the defensive end, where his foul in the box led to a successful penalty kick by El Salvador. 

Beasley can be a big part of the team's success if he is playing well, although we have not seen his best yet at the Gold Cup.

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