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List of Americans Abroad

Inexperienced Americans come back to post overtime Gold Cup win over Panama.

Late goal allows U.S. deep reserves to manage Gold Cup draw with Haiti.

Reserves provide lift, U.S. blanks Honduras 2-0 in Gold Cup.

U.S. encounters little resistance and blanks Grenada 4-0 in Gold Cup.

Despite surprising lead, U.S. wilts and Brazil wins Confederations Cup.

U.S. shocks Spain, advances to Confederations Cup final, with tenacious effort.

Strong effort sends U.S. past Egypt 3-0 and to improbable Confederations Cup semifinal berth.

American shortcomings are again obvious and Brazil wins easily in Confederations Cup.

Shorthanded Americans cannot hold off skillful Italy in Confederations Cup.

U.S. survives early lapse, to rally past Honduras in important qualifier.

Costa Rica humiliates Americans 3-1 in World Cup qualifier.

Hejduk, others unavailable as Americans visit Costa Rica for qualifier.

Altidore's three goals lead strong U.S. effort in win over T&T.

U.S. responds to poor effort with late rally to draw El Salvador 2-2.

U.S. continues home domination of Mexico by starting final qualifying with 2-0 victory.

Final round of World Cup qualifying opens with weakened Mexico.

Kljestan shines in dull U.S. victory over Sweden.

CONCACAF draw has Americans facing Mexico to open final round of qualifying.

Cooper, Adu lead U.S. to dominant, if meaningless, decision over Guatemala.

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Analysis

With goal in each half, U.S. moves into Gold Cup final against Mexico.

By Robert Wagman
SoccerTimes

(Friday, July 24, 2009) -- Using goals in the final seconds of both halves, the United States men moved into Sunday's championship match of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a second 2-0 victory over Honduras in yesterday's semifinals at Chicago's Soldiers Field.

The U.S. dominated much of the match, taking 17 shots, 10 of which were on goal. Honduras goalkeeper Donis Escober kept his side in the match with eight saves, although he was helped by the fact that most of the U.S. shots were directly at him. With better finishing, the Americans could have ended this match quickly, but with wide-open chances squandered, they had to wait until the very end before knowing they were safely through to meet Mexico in Sunday afternoon's 3 p.m. (ET) final at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

"We are very pleased with the effort tonight, but also know the job isn't done." U.S. coach Bob Bradley said. "We knew from the start of this tournament that it was a great opportunity for a lot of players, but we also made it very clear that we are defending champions, so it was with that idea that we got started and we have gone about it the same way we do every time we come together. We are now looking forward to the chance to accomplish our goal of winning the tournament."

The U.S. pressed the match from the outset and in the first 10 minutes had no fewer then four golden opportunities. Then the match settled into generally aimless play in the midfield until in the 45th minute. U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden's corner kick, the sixth of the half for the Americans, found the head of defender Clarence Goodson, who powered it past Escober for a 1-0 lead at intermission.

Both teams opened the second half with renewed energy and both had chances early. Then, again, the game settled into the midfield, with both sides tiring and it was not until both teams inserted substitutes that things picked up again.

As the game moved into stoppage time and Honduras grew more and more desperate, it pushed more players forward and were stung on a quick counter-attack that produced one of the nicest passing combinations by the U.S. in a long while.

Reserve midfielder Santino Quaranta caused a turnover in midfield and was off. He passed to the left to Holden, who found striker Brian Ching inside the penalty area. Ching held off a defender on his back and back-heeled the ball back to an advancing Holden who one-touched it across the goal-mouth to unmarked Kenny Cooper for an easy tap-in.

This was a businesslike win for the Americans and quite similar to the 2-0 win over Honduras in the group stage at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Mexico was frankly a bit lucky to get past Costa Rica on tiebreaking penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw to advance to Sunday's final, but although a young team, it is considerably better then anyone the U.S. has faced thus far in this tournament. If the U.S. is to capture a third straight Gold Cup championship, it will have to finish its chances better then it has done so far and the defensive midfield will have to contribute more than it has.


U.S. Player Ratings

Starters

Goalkeeper Troy Perkins - 6.5: A calm, mature performance. Made the saves he had to and always commanded his box, cutting off crosses and controlling high balls.

Defender Jay Heaps - 5.5: Again, he is better playing on the right side. While his crossing was not top-notch, he did venture forward with authority while remaining solid on defense.

Defender Chad Marshall - 6: Controlled Carlo Costly, winning every head ball and generally giving up little .

Defender Clarence Goodson - 7: Far and away his best match in a U.S. uniform. Scored a very good goal and made several excellent defensive stops.

Defender Heath Pearce - 5.5: Becoming more match-fit after injury problems, he had a good outing with quality stops while pushing forward often.

Midfielder Stuart Holden - 7: Another quality performance. Led the U.S. attack down the wing, getting balls to attackers and attempting shots from distance. He assisted on both U.S. goals and has developed into most consistent American attacker.

Midfielder Logan Pause - 4.5: Some good moments, but overall did not contribute greatly.

Midfielder Kyle Beckerman - 6: Another strong showing deep in the midfield. Made some very good defense plays and managed to contribute to the offense as well.

Midfielder Robbie Rogers - 5.5: Did many very good things, but then disappeared for long stretches. The U.S. was better after he left.

Forward Davy Arnaud - 4.5: Worked hard but accomplished little. Not a physical player and that hurts at this level.

Forward Brian Ching - 6: Constantly put himself in great position to score, but then, for varying reasons, did not. He had a high work rate, often dropping back to win balls in the midfield. Needs better finishing.

Reserves

Midfielder Santino Quaranta (75th minute for Rogers) - 6: Brought in to give the U.S. fresh legs in a sagging midfield, he did exactly that. A strong 15-plus minutes.

Forward Kenny Cooper (86th minute for Arnuad) - 7: Could not do much better in such a short appearance. Added strength and power to a lagging offense and scored an insurance goal by being in exactly the right spot.

SoccerTimes Player of the Match: Stuart Holden.


Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.

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