Clarence Goodson has become a monster on set pieces since leaving MLS to go to Scandinavia a year and a half ago. Had Bruce Arena still been coaching the US, he may not have noticed this. But Bob Bradley has, and Goodson’s strength and accuracy on Stuart Holden’s late first half corner kick turned an even game into a USA rout.
Stuart Holden was brilliant playing a freer #10 role than Bob Bradley has allowed him to play thus far in this tournament. In the first 30 minutes, it seemed the Hondurans may have the advantage tonight. But the US eventually took control.
The next two matches will define the progress for the United States to this point. Despite playing a hodgepodge squad of second tier players, Mexico, the likely US final opponent is playing with a similarly young and inexperienced team.
Of the Mexican Gold Cup roster, only Gio Dos Santos, and Gerrado Torrado can be considered sure fire first teamers. With Rafa Marquez injured it is possible the US will see Jonny Magallon twice in the next few weeks. Magallon scored twice against the US last year in Houston both in the air on set pieces.
Mexico’s first team has fallen far below the US and perhaps even Honduras at the top of CONCACAF. (I believe Costa Rica is 4th or even 5th in the pecking order but boasts an amazing home field advantage at Saprissa.) But Mexico’s depth should still be better than the USA’s. When two “B” teams play, El Tri should be the favorite.
Then next month the US goes to Azteca. That will be the biggest test of all. In the unlikely event that Costa Rica wins tonight, the USA will be overwhelming favorites in the final.
You can also check out our live blog for updates on Mexico-Costa Rica.