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Donovan grabs 50th goal as United States routs Guatemala 6-0

Jul 6, 2013, 1:13 AM EDT

U.S. forward Landon Donovan celebrates scoring against goalie Ricardo Jerez of Guatemala on a penalty kick during their friendly soccer match in San Diego Reuters

Landon Donovan grabbed a career-defining mark and Chris Wondolowski added his first career international score as the United States picked apart a rebuilding Guatemalan squad 6-0 in San Diego.

The United States dominated possession and never felt pressured at the back as the USMNT looked fluid in their friendly serving as a Gold Cup warmup.

Donovan started the match and picked up a brace, the first marking his 50th career international goal for the United States, becoming the first American man to reach the half-century mark.

The match began very narrow-minded as Guatemala funneled the United States through the middle, much like a number of teams tried during the hexagonal round the last few months. There was plenty of passing through the midfield but the U.S. found it difficult to break down the numerous Guatemala defense early on.

It finally opened up before halftime, and the U.S. sent a number of dangerous balls into the box before a Jose Torres ball missed the lunging foot of Joe Corona, but fell right to Herculez Gomez who banged it home from very close range for the 1-0 lead.

(MORE: U.S. player ratings from the night)

Donovan, who had a relatively quiet start to the match, began to make noise in the second half. He became the target of many attacks, moving into more of a central role up front, and he was clearly pushed in the six-yard box during a series of play to earn a penalty.

Donovan immediately picked up the ball and held it, getting confirmation from the touchline he could take it before a cool, easy chip right down the middle for his milestone goal.

The 30-year-old then set up the third goal with a brilliant run from the middle third down through to the top of the box before he attempted to slot through Stuart Holden. The ball deflected off a Guatemalan defender and fell right at the feet of Chris Wondolowski, who pressed it past Ricardo Jerez for his first career international goal for the U.S. in 12 caps.

(MORE: What we learned from Friday’s U.S. win in San Diego)

Donovan grabbed his second when Mix Diskerud and Stuart Holden played the ball forward and Holden’s beautiful chip cross found Landon in the middle of the box for an easy finish to make it 4-0.

Clarence Goodson continued the goal flood, connecting on a ping-pong corner chance in the 85th minute with a right-footed blast just under the bar. Alejandro Bedoya capped the nightmare evening for Guatemala meeting a low cross from Stuart Holden with a fine finish in the 88th.

To be fair, the opposition barely offered a bit of quality, but a number of USMNT players impressed on the night. In the second half, the pair of Holden and Diskerud in the midfield completely controlled the pace of play, not only quarterbacking the United States attack but also putting a halt to any Guatemalan pressure before it was able to build. The pair were a big reason why the U.S. finished the night with over 65% of possession.

The United States back line hardly put a foot wrong when tested, with the central pair Oguchi Onyewu and Goodson pairing wonderfully in the middle. Captain DaMarcus Beasley was a force down the left, providing plenty in the attack as well as becoming a brick wall at the back.

Brek Shea made an immediate impact on his 60th minute introduction, providing a number of dangerous crosses as well as trying a shot or two as well. He isn’t in the Gold Cup squad, but it’s nice to see him get some quality minutes with the squad ahead of the next round of hexagonal matches.

The USMNT completed 90% of their 657 passes, something Klinsmann has stressed his entire tenure with the United States, and that precise passing led to 23 total shots, 11 of which were on target. On the other end, Guatemala just offered five shots on goal, none of which ended up on target.

While the competition wasn’t close to threatening, the solid performance all around is a promising sight before the Gold Cup where a lack of silverware would be considered by many as a bit of a failure.

  1. 69jaredallen69 - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:29 AM

    Stuart Holden was best player on the field…Jermaine Jones better not get too comfortable

    • mvktr2 - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:52 AM

      Exactly!

      I’ve backed JJ for longer than most, believed his toughness was needed when the team was still in it’s early identity development under Klinsman. However the pairing of a healthy in form Stu & Bradley would be one of the best pairings in the world when both in form. For me Stu is Bradley with more offensive appeal. Remember he was leading the premier league in balls won and some tackle category before his onslaught of injuries.

      Jurgen is thus far a genius when it comes to creating competition, a very VERY key development in the most successful teams of any team sport and a welcome development.

      • schmutzdeck - Jul 6, 2013 at 3:48 AM

        What is the old expression? Never get too high or too low?

        Stu looked great but the opposition was nearly non existent.

        Guatemala were very well organized but were otherwise barely semi-pro level tonight.

      • mvktr2 - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:20 PM

        schmutzdeck – which is why I used the qualifiers ‘healthy in form’. It’s not that I’m blown away by anything done against Guatemala but understand the overall quality of Stu whom is basically the defensive equivalent of Jones but gives more going forward, an area Jones is undervalued in. Ultimately I think if Stu returns to full health/form it’ll be about whom pairs better with Bradley and the tactical needs of individual games.

  2. vtcorrigan - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    Stu Holden was the big difference in the 2nd half and Gomez was really dangerous in the first half while Guatemala was still putting up a good fight. I was glad to see Landycakes get his goals but remember how many of those fifty were of penalty kicks. I also thought it was completely disrespectful to interview Donovan after the game instead of Beasley who is the team captain for the gold cup. They should have at least had him at the table too!

    • gooterbaby - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:54 AM

      Disrespectful to give Beasley the armband over Donovan.

  3. mvktr2 - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    In Jurgen terminology Stu Holden ‘expressed’ himself absolutely beautifully tonight. That performance will be hard to ignore. Landon’s never been down, out of form after the layoff, injured before the layoff, but never down. Hercules proves he’s still the hardest working player in a US kit, getting things done when things aren’t going as well for the team as one would expect. Goodsen proves his quality yet again with underrated footwork. No he won’t win many foot races but as a stay-at-home defender he’s very capable with the right partner. The CB tandem wasn’t challenged but didn’t make any mistakes under the small amount of pressure.

    In the middle Corona did pretty well and Torres was better than I’ve seen him in a while but still things changed when Stu came in. It was a little tough for me to judge Mix’s contribution I was paying to much attention to Stu. Shea provided width that no one else on the team did plus when Castillo/Beasley did provide width on the left it wasn’t as well used as later in the match when Stu & Mix were controlling things. Parkhurst and the right side were generally not expressive focal points. Finally Rimando could have sat leaning against a post for 80 minutes with no ill effect.

  4. slxc - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Bad game…..

  5. kingarthur900 - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:04 AM

    “becoming the first American to reach the half-century mark”, might more accurately read first American male. How many international goals does Abby Wambach have? 160?

    • CaliforniaRedskins - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:47 AM

      except that women’s records don’t really count because it’s a women’s sport

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:08 AM

        Well, Cal, your comment is one of the more ridiculous I’ve read in a while. King is perfectly correct in noting the error in saying that Donovan is the first American with 50 goals. He’s the first American man with 50. Abby Wambach, Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and Tiffeny Milbrett all have at least 100. It is antiquated thinking to refer to “soccer” and “women’s soccer”. Men are not the norm, we are half the norm. In this 21st century, intelligent people refer to men’s soccer and women’s soccer, and when referring to soccer overall it is simply wrong to exclude and ignore women’s soccer.

      • mdac1012 - Jul 6, 2013 at 5:58 AM

        The best American Soccer player of all time………Mia Hamm. And it’s not even really all that close.

      • mvktr2 - Jul 6, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        I’m not defending californiared, I agree it’s an ignorant statement. However the article is about USMNT. Thus it’s understood that it’s a reference to men’s soccer making this little tangent from king and nothanks frivolously moot.

  6. pmonte3122 - Jul 6, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    I think that answers the question of can they…

  7. Kyle Bonn - Jul 6, 2013 at 6:44 AM

    You guys are totally right to point that out. While you all knew what it meant, to leave the quantifier is to completely forget the accomplishments of those pointed out already.

    • ajortiz365 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Don’t get all crazy. I love the USWNT, but Abby Wombat is a man among girls. Knowhatimean?

  8. boscoesworld - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Man how a little creative midfield play can change a game! Stu and Mix were the players of this game. They both offer a vision that no one else in central midfield can with the USNT. Michael Bradley would be the exception. I love Holden and he did great but Mix is no slouch!! He really sees the game well. A little strength and it will be see ya later Jermaine! Looking forward to seeing these two together in the Gold Cup. Beckerman and Torres are not the answer.

    • ajortiz365 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      True, Beckerman & Torres did not exactly impress, but the depth shown in that Guatemala game is certainly an improvement. Gomez, Corona, Diskerud, Shea, Holden, Castillo, Rimando, all stepped up. Positive vibe from the bench.

  9. ajortiz365 - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    True enough, beating Guatemala is not a comparatively big accomplishment. The point here is that under Klinsmann, the USMNT is no longer “playing down” to the level of the competition, and is “expressing” it’s superior athleticism and quality. It’s refreshing to see the USMNT slapping a beat-down on one of these little CONCACAF teams, instead of the usual desperate struggle to avoid a 1-0 defeat. This game should be the template, the pattern, the norm. Klinsmann gets an A+ from me.

  10. Dan Haug - Jul 6, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    According to the official stats, Donovan has 51 goals and 48 assists… but the video in the link below (to a BigSoccer thread) shows 49 assists. Any of you journalist type people have an explanation?

    http://www.bigsoccer.com/community/threads/landon-donovan-has-49-assists-not-48.1974840/

  11. nussdorferac - Jul 8, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Fitting it was on a PK.

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