The United States put together an outstanding performance against Honduras to reach the Gold Cup final, and the team hopes the strong play will carry over against Panama.
Most notable in the match was the outstanding effort by Landon Donovan, who had two goals and an assist in the win. He increased his totals in the tournament to five goals and seven assists, which means he has played a part in more goals than any other team in the event.
Additionally, Eddie Johnson turned heads once again (and not just with his hair) in this match. He scored his second goal in as many games and proved he can get it done against top competition.
However, there were even more solid performances Wednesday that went virtually unnoticed. These players were a big reason for the squad's success against Honduras and should expect to do well in the next match.
When Clarence Goodson played with the full team during World Cup qualifying, he made too many mistakes to justify remaining in the starting lineup. Most of them were small mental errors, but they still would lead to unnecessary goals.
Not only has the defender been strong at preventing opposing attacks, but he has also been a big help on the offensive end as well.
Goodson scored a goal against El Salvador and then helped set up the final score against Honduras with a long pass over the top of the opposing defense.
It seemed unlikely the veteran would be able to play his way back into the starting lineup for the World Cup roster, but his strong effort over the past couple of matches have helped him immensely.
The problem with Goodson's chances of being in the starting XI is that Matt Besler has been as impressive.
After joining the roster in the knockout stage, Besler has started the past two matches for the U.S. and has made few mistakes as a center back. While he has not been challenged much in either match, the defender has made sure to end any threat quickly.
Although he has not done anything especially noteworthy, that is exactly what you want to see out of a defensive player. If he can keep up this play, he will retain that starting spot he has already earned.
The match was already well in hand before Mix Diskerud entered in the 67th minute. However, he was solid in his defensive effort and showcased some creativity on the offensive end as well.
Diskerud has started three matches in the Gold Cup so far and has a goal to show for it. He has made great passes and has helped the United States maintain possession for a great part of almost every match.
Whether or not he starts in the final against Panama, you can be certain he will make an appearance at some point. When he is on the pitch, the squad is simply in better control of what is going on.
It might be a long shot for the 22-year-old player to get a ticket to Brazil, but he is on his way.
Though Donovan got the publicity in the win—and deservedly so—he might not have been able to score his two goals without the great passes from Alejandro Bedoya.
In only his second start of the tournament, the forward displayed great instincts by getting to the ball and flicking it to his teammate for the first goal. He then got a second assist when he made a perfect pass across the front of the net.
The United States has a lot of options to use at forward, but Bedoya has proven the ability to help create goals against a quality opponent. This should give him more playing time in the upcoming match.
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