Landon Donovan scored once and set up three other goals as the US cruised to a 5-1 win over El Salvador on Sunday to move into a CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final against Honduras.
Clarence Goodson and Joe Corona scored in the first half, while Eddie Johnson, Donovan and Mix Diskerud added second-half goals for the US.
Honduras beat Costa Rica 1-0 later on Sunday to secure their spot on the semi-finals tomorrow.
“I think Landon proved again today how valuable he is and how he can make a difference,” US coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “This game was important for coaches to see who is a difference-maker. Overall, we see our team clicking more, and playing better and better.”
The US have won nine consecutive full internationals — a national record. They have also prevailed in seven of their past eight Gold Cup matches, the exception being a 4-2 loss to Mexico in the final in 2011.
“We are trying to catch up with the big teams in the world,” Klinsmann said. “It’s all about speed. I’m not talking about physical speed. I’m talking about mental speed, passing speed, with every player going both ways. That’s what we’re working to. This is a process and I think that process is coming along.”
Goodson put the US ahead in the 21st minute after a cross from Donovan. Eight minutes later, Corona drove in a right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area to make it 2-0.
El Salvador’s only goal came in the 39th minute when Rodolfo Zelaya was fouled by DaMarcus Beasley and he converted the spot-kick to make it 2-1.
“The difference today was scoring early goals,” Donovan said. “Even though they got a questionable goal back, we still kept going and our effort was really good. Obviously, to score five goals is a bonus.”
Johnson’s header from a Donovan cross gave the US a 3-1 lead on the hour. Donovan then scored in the 78th minute to become the first player in history to score in six Gold Cup tournaments.
In the later match, Andy Najar scored with a header in the 49th minute as Honduras squeezed past Costa Rica.
The semi-finals are being held tomorrow in Arlington, Texas. Panama take on Mexico in the other semi-final.