Landon Donovan led the U.S. to a 5-1 historic win over El Salvador on Sunday with a strong performance that included 1 goal and 3 assists, bringing his U.S. career total to 54 goals and 55 assists. Donovan once again proved why he is a vital asset to the team.
“Landon proved today how well he plays and how he can make a difference,” Jurgen Klinsmann said.
With the win over El Salvador, the stars and stripes are now in the Gold Cup semis for the 11th time, the most of any other country. The victory extends the teams winning streak to nine wins and 31 goals, the longest in U.S. team history.
“We strive to be the best team. It doesn’t matter if it’s a world cup qualifier or not. You always want to be one step ahead of them,” DaMarcus Beasley said.
“This is a process. We are trying to catch-up with the big teams in the world and raise the bar,” said Klinsmann. “It’s all about speed. I’m talking about mental speed and passing speed. You’ll see players trying to keep the tempo high and create changes”.
It was this newfound speed that Landon Donovan credited as being the key to the win for the U.S. “El Salvador played well and defended well, but the key was to continue with a fast pace, “ said Donovan.
Veteran players like Rimando, Clarence Goodson, and Donovan laid the groundwork for younger players like Joe Corona to come in and finish plays.
“The younger players are getting better with each game. They’re showing they belong on the national team, Donovan said.”
The players and coaches also credited their collectiveness on the field as a key factor in the team’s victory.
“We have been together for three weeks, but it feels like we have been together for years. You can see that on the field,” said Jose Torres.
USMNT fans at M&T Stadium in Baltimore where overshadowed by a sea of El Salvador fans decked in blue, but that didn’t stop Klinsmann’s team from finding the back of the net.
“For every opportunity we made, the U.S. made two or three”, El Salvador’s coach said. “The U.S. was very consistent, we haven’t seen this type of level of play in this tournament”.
Coach Agustín Castillo said the U.S. team’s collectiveness challenged the team. “The U.S. almost play by memory. They can find their spaces and make the ball appear,” Castillo said. “Players like Beckerman in the midfield made it challenging for us.
The U.S.’s tempo changed in the second half. The second half brought in goals from both Eddie Johnson and Mix Diskerud. In the 60th minute, Eddie Johnson scored off a header just 14 seconds after being subbed into the game.
“We knew that with Eddie Johnson’s goal the game was over,” said Klinsmann.
The team is one step closer to capturing the title. The last time the team won was in 2007. The U.S. will try to extend their nine game winning streak to ten when they take on Honduras in Dallas on Wednesday in the Gold Cup semifinals.
“They are the best team I’ve seen in this tournament and strong candidates to win the Gold Cup,” El Salvador’s coach said.