World Football

USA vs. Honduras: Players to Watch in Semifinal Duel

Jul 21, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; United States forward Eddie Johnson (26) is congratulated by defenseman DaMarcus Beasley (7) after scoring a goal in the second half against El Salvador at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IJuly 24, 2013

The United States and Honduras will battle for a right to play in the 2013 Gold Cup final on Wednesday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The Americans beat Honduras back in June, 1-0, off a game-winner from Jozy Altidore. They have won nine straight matches, a national record.

Honduras isn't going to go down without a fight, though. The side has blanked three teams in four matches during the 2013 Gold Cup, including Costa Rica in the quarterfinals.

The big thing for Honduras will be keeping up with the electric offense of the United States. The Americans have posted a tournament-high 16 goals so far, while Honduras has notched a total of four goals. 

Of course, that's what difference-makers are for. Here's a look at the players to look for on the pitch in the semifinal clash in Arlington.

 

Landon Donovan, United States

Landon Donovan has certainly proven himself after being held out of the Americans' last string of World Cup qualifying matches.

The 31-year-old has notched a tournament-high six assists, as well as posting three goals, in just four matches for the Americans. In the 5-1 demolition of El Salvador in the quarterfinal, Donovan was responsible for four of USA's goals (one goal, three assists).

 

Eddie Johnson, United States

Eddie Johnson was subbed into the match against El Salvador in the second half and promptly scored just 14 seconds in. 

The 29-year-old also posted an assist in the 5-1 victory, despite being on the pitch for just 30 minutes. After scoring a header on a corner from Donovan in the 60th minute, Johnson returned the favor in the 78th minute, hitting Donovan with the assist.

Johnson has the size, speed, strength and dribbling skills to potentially replace Chris Wondolowski in the starting lineup against Honduras.

 

Andy Najar, Honduras

Andy Najar posted his first goal in the 2013 Gold Cup against Costa Rica, and anyone who has watched the 20-year-old play knows that his dribbling skills have the potential to open up opportunities for the Hondurans.

USA defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Parkhurst will have their hands full with the crafty young player. If Honduras is able to limit the United States offense, Najar has the potential to facilitate that game-changer for the visitors. 

 

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