U.S. team seeks Gold Cup No. 5 where it won No. 4
BY KALYN KAHLER firstname.lastname@example.org July 27, 2013 1:24AM
Landon Donovan (10) and his U.S. teammates hope to continue their dominance. | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
GOLD CUP FINAL
United States vs. Panama
The facts: 3 p.m. Sunday at Soldier Field, Fox-32.
Updated: August 29, 2013 7:52PM
Soldier Field again hosts the CONCACAF Gold Cup final Sunday, with the United States facing Panama. The last time Soldier Field hosted the regional soccer federation’s biennial tournament, it was 2007 and the United States beat Mexico 2-1 in front of a sold-out crowd of 60,000 to win a second consecutive Gold Cup and its most recent of four overall.
Since its opening match, a 6-1 victory against Belize, the United States has shown itself to be the dominant team, outscoring opponents 19-4 in five games. It advanced to its ninth final with a 3-1 victory Wednesday against Honduras at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Landon Donovan, the all-time leading scorer in U.S. history, notched two goals and one assist in the semifinal. His return to Team USA from a seven-month hiatus after the 2012 Major League Soccer season has been a highlight of the tournament. He has scored five goals and set up another seven in five games.
Donovan and captain DaMarcus Beasley are the most experienced players on a team that uses a medley of World Cup veterans and young MLS players such as San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski, who also has scored five goals this tournament.
Wondolowski is one of several young players who will use the final to try to prove themselves worthy of a spot on the U.S. World Cup team. Another is Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who made his first cap in a competitive match and recorded a 1-0 shutout against Costa Rica in the group stage on July 16, making two crucial saves that secured Team USA the top spot in the group stage.
The United States is 9-1-2 overall against Panama. The last time the countries met, in a FIFA World Cup qualifier on June 11 in Seattle, the United States won 2-0.
Team USA has more to gain than a fifth Gold Cup
after back-to-back runner-up finishes. The winner of this Gold Cup and the 2015 winner will play to determine the region’s representative in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
NOTE: U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann will miss the game to serve a one-game suspension for arguing with the officials late in the semifinal victory against Honduras. The decision by CONCACAF’s disciplinary committee can’t be appealed.