The U.S. Men’s National Team cruised past El Salvador, 5-1, on July 21 to claim a berth in the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals before a sellout crowd in Baltimore.
Despite a crowd filled with El Salvadoran fans and supporters of Honduras, playing the second game of a double-header, Clarence Goodson and Joe Corona scored in an eight-minute span of the first half to cement the U.S. team’s ninth-straight international victory.
Eddie Johnson, Landon Donovan, Mix Diskerud contributed second half goals. The U.S. will play July 24 in Dallas against the winner of the Honduras-Costa Rica match.
Donovan keyed three of the American goals in a performance proving his prominent place as an international talent.
“I think Landon proved again today how valuable he is and now he can make a difference,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann told ESPN. “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.”
El Salvador scored before the half when Rudolfo Zalaya was fouled by DaMarcus Beasley and converted a penalty kick in the 39th minute.
“The difference today was scoring early goals,” Donovan said. “Even though they got a questionable goal back, we still kept going and our effort was really good. Obviously, to score five goals is a bonus.”
The sellout crowd of over 71,000 fans was dominated by the blue of Honduras and El Salvador, with only small enclaves of red-clad U.S. fans.
“Collectively, they're a very good team,” El Salvador coach Agustin Castillo said through a translator, according to ESPN. “They almost play by memory. They can find the spaces. It almost seems like every time they pass the ball into a space it's going to nobody, then somebody appears and actually meets the ball. Good work, good movement.”