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Tuesday, June 14, 2011
GOLD CUP: Day 10 recap

By Scott French

US Celebrates
The U.S celebrates Jozy Altidore's goal in a 1-0 victory Tuesday over Guadeloupe.

The follies in front of the net got worse for the U.S. national team Tuesday night, but they couldn't derail the Yanks from the business at hand: nailing down a CONCACAF Gold Cup knockout-stage berth that should have come far more easily.

Jozy Altidore's stirring strike to the upper-right corner in the ninth minute was enough for a 1-0 victory in Kansas City, Kan., that gave the Americans second place in Group C and a quarterfinal date Sunday with Jamaica in Washington.

El Salvador also got through to the quarters, qualifying when Panama rallied in stoppage time to tie Canada, 1-1, in the first game of the doubleheader. The Canucks were eliminated as all five Central American teams advanced from the group stage.

Panama's surprising victory Saturday over the U.S. had minimal impact on the bracket, merely giving the U.S. a tougher quarterfinal foe (Jamaica rather than El Salvador) but one it will be expected to defeat. Anything other than a U.S.-Mexico final on June 25 at the Rose Bowl would be a surprise, although the Jamaicans were more impressive than the Americans in group play -- and Mexico looks, frankly, unbeatable by anyone else here.

That includes the U.S., which looked far sharper while dominating Guadeloupe than it did against Panama, especially at the back, but was incomprehensibly sloppy in front of the net.

Big news off the field, too, with word that doping tests Friday at UCLA on the five suspended Mexican players all turned out negative for clenbuterol, a drug for treating respiratory diseases in horses that can build muscle. The players are requesting analysis of their “B” samples from the May 21 tests in Mexico.

A quick look at the 10th day of group play in the region's nations championship:

U.S. DOES JUST ENOUGH: Altidore offered a goal-of-the-tournament candidate (actually, a runner-up candidate; nothing will beat Mexican winger Andres Guardado's volley Sunday), but the Yanks could do little else right when they had a chance. They blew at least three sure-thing opportunities -- and those by Landon Donovan and, twice, Clint Dempsey, their surest finishers -- and were thwarted by Guadeloupe's fine goalkeeper Franck Grandel.

The Gwada Boys nearly went ahead at the start, but Stephane Zubar's blast ricocheted off Eric Lichaj, hit the crossbar and went over. Grandel tipped Dempsey over the crossbar three minutes later, and Altidore struck three minutes after that, a 30-yard screamer that tailed into the top corner.

The U.S. had dozens of chances to increase the advantage, but should have gone ahead when Dempsey missed an open header from six yards in the 24th minute, when Donovan volleyed an open shot over the crossbar from six yards in the 57th, and when Dempsey had the ball and an empty net three yards away in the 76th and couldn't tap it home before Julian Ictoi knocked it away.

Coach Bob Bradley strengthened things in the back by pulling out Tim Ream, poor against Panama, sending captain Carlos Bocanegra into the middle, next to Clarence Goodson, and Lichaj into Bocanegra's spot at left back.

Best of the Americans: right back Steve Cherundolo, so active and dangerous all night; and winger Alejandro Bedoya, who brought added life to the attack when he came on in the 64th minute.

CANADA CAN'T CLOSE: Canada was set for the quarterfinals until Luis Tejada's third goal of the Gold Cup pulled Panama (2-0-1) even and gave the Canaleros the group title. Canada (1-1-1) finished third in Group C but last on goal difference among the three third-place teams. El Salvador claimed the second third-place slot in the quarters.

Dwayne De Rosario gave the Canucks the lead on a 62nd-minute penalty kick after he was knocked down from behind by Eybir Bonaga. Tejada knocked home a loose ball on the goal line after Eduardo Dasent hit the crossbar and Canadian goalkeeper Milan Borjan did well to keep Anibal Godoy's rebound out of the net.

DAYS 11-13 HIGHLIGHTS: Rest days. DAY 14: Upper-bracket quarterfinals at the Meadowlands offer a faceoff between Central America's powers (Honduras and Costa Rica) and Guatemala trying to slow down the Mexican juggernaut.

TUESDAY
Group C (at Livestrong Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kan.)

Canada 1 (De Rosario pen. 62), Panama 1 (Tejada 91+)
United States 1 (Altidore 9), Guadeloupe 0
Att.: 20,109

SATURDAY
Quarterfinals (at New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.)
Costa Rica vs. Honduras, 2 p.m. TV: TeleFutura (KRTR/Channel 46)
Mexico vs. Guatemala, 5 p.m. TV: Univision (KMEX/Channel 34)

SUNDAY
Quarterfinals (at RFK Stadium, Washington)
Jamaica vs. United States, noon. TV: Fox Soccer Channel and Univision (KMEX/Channel 34)
Panama vs. El Salvador, 3 p.m. TV: Univision (KMEX/Channel 34)

GROUP A
x-Mexico 3-0-0 (14-1) 9
x-Costa Rica 1-1-1 (7-5) 4
x-El Salvador 1-1-1 (7-7) 4
Cuba 0-3-0 (1-16) 0

GROUP B
x-Jamaica 3-0-0 (7-0) 9
x-Honduras 1-1-1 (7-2) 4
x-Guatemala 1-1-1 (4-2) 4
Grenada 0-3-0 (1-15) 0

GROUP C
x-Panama 2-0-1 (6-4) 7
x-United States 2-1-0 (4-2) 6
Canada 1-1-1 (2-3) 4
Guadeloupe 0-3-0 (2-5) 0

THIRD-PLACE TEAMS
x-Guatemala 1-1-1 (4-2) 4
x-El Salvador 1-1-1 (7-7) 4
Canada 1-1-1 (2-3) 4
x -- advances to quarterfinals
Two top third-place teams advance to quarterfinals
Key: W-L-T (Goals for-against) Points

 


SEMIFINALS
June 22 at Reliant Stadium, Houston:
Costa Rica/Honduras vs. Mexico/Guatemala, 4 p.m.; Jamaica/United States vs. Panama/El Salvador, 7 p.m.

FINAL
June 25 at Rose Bowl, Pasadena:
Semifinal winners, 6 p.m.

1. Javier Hernandez (Mexico) 5
2. Carlo Costly (Honduras) 3
Luis Tejada (Panama) 3
Rodolfo Zelaya (El Salvador) 3
5. Jozy Altidore (USA) 2
Jerry Bengtson (Honduras) 2
Aldo de Nigris (Mexico) 2
Dwayne De Rosario (Canada) 2
Giovani Dos Santos (Mexico) 2
Gabriel Gomez (Panama) 2
Andres Guardado (Mexico) 2
Ryan Johnson (Jamaica) 2
Brice Jovial (Guadeloupe) 2
Demar Phillips (Jamaica) 2
Marco Ureņa (Costa Rica) 2