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U.S. beats El Salvador in Gold Cup

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Clarence Goodson and Joe Corona scored eight minutes apart in the first half, leading the United States to a 5-1 victory over El Salvador in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals Sunday.

Eddie Johnson added an insurance goal in the second half just 14 seconds after entering the game for Chris Wondolowski. Landon Donovan provided the fourth goal in the 78th minute, and Mix Diskerud added another five minutes later.

The victory extended the Americans' winning streak to nine games in full international contests -- the longest in the 100-year history of the U.S. program.

The U.S. plays the winner of Costa Rica and Honduras in the semifinals Wednesday in Dallas. Mexico and Panama meet in the other matchup.

The Americans, who scored 11 goals and allowed just two in the group stage, withstood several early chances by El Salvador on quick counter-attacks. The U.S. took control about midway through the first half when Goodson provided the lead by tapping in a short cross from Donovan in the 21st minute.

Playing in Baltimore for the first time since 1997, the Americans continued to aggressively attack, and Corona provided a two-goal lead in the 29th minute on a low shot from the top of the penalty area.

Goalie Dagoberto Portillo kept the El Salvador in the game with several diving saves, including one on a shot by Corona from point-blank range. This helped El Salvador cut the margin to 2-1 when Rodolfo Zelaya converted a penalty kick after he was fouled inside the box by DeMarcus Beasley in the 39th minute.

Each team had three shots on goal in the first half, but the U.S. held a 4-1 advantage on corner kicks.

The U.S. had trouble with Zelaya, and he narrowly missed tying the game on two shots in the opening seven minutes of the second half.

The Americans then increased the lead to 3-1 in the 60th minute when Johnson scored on a header from Donovan on his first touch of the game.

Donovan put the game out of reach with 12 minutes remaining when he dribbled around Portillo and slotted the ball into the empty net. Donovan has 54 goals and 54 assists and became the only U.S. player to score in six Gold Cup tournaments.

The United States improved to 18-1-7 all-time against El Salvador.
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