Beasley strikes twice, U.S. beats El Salvador 4-0 for Group B sweep.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (Tuesday, June 12, 2007) - Midfielder DaMarcus Beasley struck twice, while forwards Landon Donovan and Taylor Twellman also found net for the United States which cruised to a 4-0 decision over El Salvador to complete a 3-0 record and win Group B of the CONCACAF Gold Cup before 26,523 at Gillette Stadium tonight.
The U.S. will stay in Boston, but will not learn its opponent in Saturday's quarterfinal until Group C is completed Saturday night. The American opponent will either be Guadeloupe, the Group A third-place finisher or the third-place team from Group C.
"We are happy with the results from the first three games, but we know it is going to be tough the rest of the way," Beasley said.
The U.S. did not allow a shot on goal in rolling over El Salvador, holding a 10-5 shots advantage, 9-0 on frame. The Americans are the only team among 12 in the Gold Cup to win, or have the possibility to win, all three group matches, and the only one not to concede a goal after opening with a 1-0 defeat of Guatemala and then dropping Trinidad & Tobago 2-0, both at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Downing El Salvador was "a good win for us," said U.S. coach Bob Bradley, who has lead his team to a 7-0-1 record since being hired in December. "It's especially nice, that when the game opened up in the second half, to see some of the soccer that we put together. That's a nice reward for the hard work early in the match. In tournaments like this, the beginning of the tournament always starts with games that are pretty tight, and we knew that right away against Guatemala. So today we had a good chance to finish on a different note. Certainly we know going into the knockout stage that things will tighten up again. We look forward to it."
Despite total dominance, the U.S. did not manage a lead until Beasley scored in the 34th minute. Continual American pressure resulted in a left-side corner kick which Donovan sent into a crowd at the near post. The ball caromed out to Beasley who, facing the left post from 16 yards out, poked an easy shot into the unattended right side of the net for a 1-0 lead. Goalkeeper Miguel Montes dove to his left, but didn't come close to the shot.
"I just kind of threw my foot at it and it went in," Beasley said. "I think the turning point of the game was Landon's penalty kick (for a 2-0 advantage three minutes into first half stoppage time). That really threw them on their heels. They threw a lot at us in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but after that we were in control. It was important to get the first goal. We knew El Salvador was going to be very compact and difficult to break down. Teams know us now and know what the United States brings."
The Americans doubled its margin to 2-0 after a bizarre sequence just before intermission. After taking a pass from Donovan, midfielder Benny Feilhaber approached they top right of the penalty area and attempted to cross to the far post. Retreating El Salvador midfielder Alfredo Pacheco knocked the ball down with his left hand just as it entered the box.
Montes dove to his right to stop Donovan's first attempt on the subsequent penalty kick. The ball bounced across the face of the goal back to Donovan who tucked a shot into the right side of the net, but the goal was disallowed and the PK was ordered to be retaken because U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley had encroached into the box before Donovan shot.
On his second try, Donovan drove his shot behind Montes as he moved to his left, making it 2-0 in the fourth minute of time added to the first half. Had Donovan not put away the rebound of his PK miss, play would have continued and Donovan would not have been given a second chance.
Twellman replaced Donovan at the break and made it 3-0 in the 73rd minute. Beasley tackled a ball deep in his defensive area and charged down the left flank from before crossing to striker Brian Ching in the middle. Ching carried forward before finding Twellman approaching the top right of the box. Fropm about 15 yards out, Twellman drilled his low shot at Montes, but the ball squirted through the legs of the sliding keeper into the net for his sixth international goal.
Donovan's 31st international goal is three behind all-time leader Eric Wynalda's 34. With a record 25 career assists, Donovan has all-time best 87 points, three more than Wynalda. The tally was also Donovan's ninth in the Gold Cup, tying him with Wynalda for the most by an American in the tournament.
In the 89th minute, Ching made a long run from his side of the center stripe down the left center of the field, touching right to midfielder Clint Dempsey as the approached the box. Just before crossing the 18-yard line, Dempsey fed Beasley, who was approaching the right post. Beasley had an easy finish from seven yards out for his 15th international goal to make it 4-0.
Notes: Midfielder Pablo Mastroeni returned to the U.S. lineup after completing a three-game suspension from his red card against Italy last June in the World Cup. Only "official" matches -- those in major competitions -- counted in the ban.
Feilhaber was the only player to start for the U.S. in all three Group B matches.
Making its ninth tournament appearance, the U.S. is 21-0-1 in Gold Cup group matches.
United States 4, El Salvador 0
Lineups: United States - Tim Howard, Jonathan Spector (Frank Simek 81), Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Parkhurst, Jonathan Bornstein, Michael Bradley (Brian Ching 64), Pablo Mastroeni, Benny Feilhaber, Landon Donovan (Taylor Twellman 46), DaMarcus Beasley; Clint Dempsey. El Salvador - Miguel Montes, Leonel Guevara (Manuel Salazar 46), Jose Henriquez, Ramiro Carballo (Julio Martinez 46), Ramon Sanchez, Dennis Alas, Alexander Escobar, Alfredo Pacheco, Jose
Martinez, Juan Campos (Cesar Lario 77), Ronald Cerritos
United States - Beasley (unassisted) 34.
United States - Donovan (penalty kick) 49+.
United States - Twellman (Ching) 73.
United States - Beasley (Dempsey) 89.
Shots: United States 10, El Salvador 5
Shots on goal: United States 9, El Salvador 0
Saves: United States 0, El Salvador 4
Corner kicks: United States 3, El Salvador 1
Fouls: United States 15, El Salvador 11
Offside: United States 3, El Salvador 0.
Yellow card cautions: United States - Bradley 10, Mastroeni 46+, Onyewu 56; El Salvador - Guevara 19, Campos 29, Cerritos halftime.
Referee: Benito Archundia (Mexico).
Referee's assistants: Jose Luis Camargo (Mexico), Alejandro Azofeifa (Costa Rica).
Fourth official: - Javier Jauregui (Antigua & Barbuda).
Attendance: 26,523 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy.
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