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SOCCER: U.S. pummels El Salvador, 5-1, to reach Gold Cup semis

by The Associated Press on July 22, 2013 10:10 AM

The passes were sharp, the defense sound and the goals plentiful.

The United States couldn’t have played much better, and the timing could not have been more perfect.

Clarence Goodson and Joe Corona scored during an eight-minute span of the first half, and the U.S. cruised past El Salvador 5-1 Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan and Mix Diskerud added second-half goals for the Americans, who will play Honduras in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday night.

Honduras beat Costa Rica 1-0 on Sunday night as part of a doubleheader before a sellout crowd at the home stadium of the Baltimore Ravens.

Assists aren’t an official statistic in the Gold Cup, but Donovan set up three scores in a dazzling performance.

“I think Landon proved again today how valuable he is and now he can make a difference,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “This game was important for coaches to see who is a difference maker. Overall, we see our team clicking more and playing better and better.”

The U.S. has won nine straight full internationals — a record for the country’s national team. The Americans have also prevailed in seven of their last eight Gold Cup matches, the exception being a 4-2 loss to Mexico in 2011 final.

“We are trying to catch up with the big teams in the world,” Klinsmann said. “It’s all about speed. I’m not talking about physical speed. I’m talking about mental speed, passing speed with every player going both ways. That’s what we’re working to. This is a process and I think that process is coming along.”

Rodolfo Zelaya scored for El Salvador, 1-19-7 overall against the U.S.

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