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CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals: US 2-0 Honduras, Mexico 1-1 (5-3PKS) Costa Rica AET


Join us beginning at 6:15pm ET for live commentary from tonight’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Semifinals: US vs Honduras, and Mexico vs Costa Rica from Chicago’s Soldier Field. Feel free to leave your commentary in the comments section.

Juan Arango, who has provided color commentary for the international omnisport broadcasts of the Gold Cup will be our guest on MLS Talk Podcast #100 which will be taped and released tomorrow.


Costa Rica got many chances in the second half off the counter, but struggled to convert several golden chances. Guille Franco and Carlos Vela two super skilled European based players were inserted late for Mexico and they made all the difference. Franco’s goal was all Mexico needed to win.

In the last minute of stoppage time, Mexico’s defenders strangely pushed up into midfield allowing a desperate long ball to find Froylan Ledezma who calmly despite the situation beat Memo Ochoa and thus we have extra time.

Franco, recalled by Aguirre on the eve of the Gold Cup could rightfully say “up yours Hugo” to Hugo Sanchez who dropped him after he had featured for Ricardo LaVolpe simply because he was Argentine. Recalled under Eriksson and now under Aguirre, the Villeareal striker still adds a touch of class to the Mexican side.

Costa Rica started the game well.  Andy Herron sets up Alvaro Soborio well but it’s cleared just in time for a corner. Then minutes later the Ticos hit the post and the rebound goes just wide with Memo Ochoa hopelessly out of position.

Right before halftime Gio Dos Santos missed an open net with a shot that went just wide of the far post.

Costa Rica has controlled the first several minutes of this match creating a few good chances.

MEXICO LINEUP: Ochoa, Pinto, Magallon, Juarez, Valenzuela, Torrado, Cstro, Medina, Dos Santos, Sabah, Barrera.

COSTA RICA LINEUP: Navas, Fernandez, Marshall, Delgado, Wallace, Borges, Oviedo, Alonso, Herron, Soborio, Brenes. No CENTANTO


US LINEUP:  Perkins; Heaps, Goodson, Marshall, Pearce; Holden, Beckerman, Pause, Rogers; Arnaud, Ching (c).

This lineup includes not a single player who faced Honduras in the June 6th qualifier at only one player, Heath Pearce that was in uniform that night for the USA.

HONDURAS LINEUP: Escobar, Norales, Acevedo, Chavez, Medina, Palacios, Valladeres, Meija, Chavez, Costly, Martinez

Costly, Martinez and Norales faced the United States in the June 6th qualifier. Like the US, the bulk of the Honduran “A” team plays in Europe and is unavailable for this competition


Pablo Ramirez and Jesus Brancomontes on the call for both games on Telefutura. Max Bretos and Christopher Sullivan on the US-Honduras call for FOX Soccer Channel.

Mexico will be without Israel Martinez tonight.

Michael Parkhurst will be back for the USA tonight.

Jamaican Courtney Campbell who many in the Central American and Mexican press accuse of being a “pro American” official has been assigned to the Honduras-USA game, again. Hmmm……

These two teams met in the 2005 semifinal with the US scoring two late goals (John O’Brien and Oguchi Onyewu) to win 2-1 in a game Honduras dominated until the last 15 minutes.

Second Half

The US applies lots of pressure, and Finally Cooper finishes the game off  with GOAL

Carlo Costly has missed a few good chances here. Without the likes of David Suazo to pair with he’s tried to do too much himself.

Davy Arnaud does well to earn a free kick in minute 70

In the 59th minute, Troy Perkins makes a good save on Norales’ cross.

The US really applying some early second half pressure. By pushing their defenders up Honduras has left huge gaps down the flanks that the US is exploiting.

Holden with a great header on goal but saved.

Rogers taken down in the box but no PK call!

First Half:

Clarence Goodson has scored a ton of goals in Norway in the air in the last year and a half. Now he does it for the US!

Great piece of skill from Ching in the 44th minute but the shot deflects off a Honduran defender.

A great save in the 43rd minute from Escobar on a free kick from the US.

Much like the game at RFK two weeks ago, the midfield play is a stalemate with both teams losing possession far too easily.

Holden has lots of time over a clean shot in the 23rd minute but flies it over the Honduran goal.


Blown call by the official as Costly is onside kept on by the last US defender but is called off.

Ching completely misses the target following a good cross from Rogers. Perhaps justice is served as Heath Pearce like he did at the Mateo Flores last August wasn’t called for a hand ball by the same official, Courtney Campbell.

A knock on Carlo Costly in Honduras is that he is not an out and out striker, often drifting too deep into midfield or even the defense. We see that again early on here.

Pearce and Rogers interacting well on the left side, with Pearce pushing up often and Rogers moving into a more roving role.

Good early effort from Jay Heaps heading a corner just wide of the target

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  1. soccer goals

    July 24, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Great post.

  2. Lars

    July 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Fans of the game, I suggest doing what Canadian fans are discussing. We’ve begun writing letters to the Minister of Sport demanding an inquiry into the corruption at CONCACAF and the CSA. Do something similar with your football association.

    Why should we allow CONCACAF corruption to get in the way of good football? Why are none of the CONCACAF associations not protesting the BS reffing and results?

    Corruption. One good kick and this rotten house comes crashing down.

  3. Chris

    July 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Well, I thought we played good…just like we have the whole tournament…if we was down after halftime..we had snapped out of it and realized what we need to do….regarding the refs…only the past 2 games have been horrible…the Panama game…ridcolus…the Honduras game…there was a time when one of our guys was in the penalty area and was brought down and it could be seen by anybody in the stadium…Honduras was complaing about jersey pulling and holding and well they was doing it to..hahaha anyhow the USA are expected to not have good refs or even have a ref in favor of them…when we play it home its not like we are playing at home sometimes…with the crowd im meaning…and sometimes the refs…the refs are defitnaly not netural in these past 2 games…anyhow I wateched the Mexico game, what an intense game…it really picked up in the second half more than it did in the first half i thought…i sort of knew it was going to go to PKS when it came second half because i thought well neither of these teams are going score…and then Mexico puts out a goal…so i think well its over Mexico wins yes..

    But just after that wow poor defending by mexico…costa rica scores hahaha..amazing…anyhow…what bothered me was the Mexican fans throwing crap on the field and hitting the costa rica players when they were close enough. I had posted on a blog earlier about the Mexicans not having any class and i think this just proved that even more. Now im not saying every mexican doesnt have class…but you cerintaly have countrymen that dont. and its showing and its happend in 2 games..and maybe happen in the final against us. and will more than likley happen at the Azteca in August…

  4. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 24, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Fair enough, Craig, not my finest statement, but…………the fact that Costa Rica’s “A” team still couldn’t put away Mexico’s “B” team reinforces the turf argument.

    Based on their respective performances in qualifying (Costa Rica has won 10 games between the semis and hex, Mexico just 5), and given the squads fielded, Costa Rica still needs to show me and everyone else that follows CONCACAF more. The fact that Centano did not play, last night may have hurt them from a leadership and dead ball situations but they moved the ball around quicker than they typically do when he’s in the #10 role.

  5. Craig

    July 24, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Kartik: This turns out to be a pretty embarassing statement, eh? “Mexico will crush Costa Rica on a natural grass surface at Soldier Field. This game ought not to be played.”

    Not even close.

    You see, there’s a reason why the games actually ARE played. There is a difference between informed analysis and reasoned conjecture and grossly hyperbolic statements based on what you think you know. Stick to the former and you will have a lot more credibility.

  6. Adam Edg

    July 24, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Maybe FIFA should hold an inquiry of all CONCACAF refs. I always hear that most refs are pro-Mexico. Now it is that they are pro-US. Certain refs are said to be pro-Central American Teams. Others are said to be pro-North American. A few are said to be pro-Carribean. I’ll even bet there are some that are anti-each of the groups.
    Good lord! Refs are fallible human beings. They are going to make mistakes and make bad calls. It happens. I complain about refs too; that’s part of the game. However, I rarely accuse a ref or being for or against a team unless he repeatedly misses calls against one side on a consistent basis. So far I’ve experienced a general screw up of calls all around in CONCACAF. I would say that we just have crappy refs, not biased refs.
    Maybe we should adopt a system with two refs on the pitch like hockey. We could have a pro-Central American ref and a pro-North American ref with Pro-Carribean linesmen. They can fight out all of the calls between themselves while the divers continue to feign their injuries…
    Diving might be the bigger issue here. CONCACAF has more divers than an Olympic swimming pool. Card anyone that dives, wallows on the ground for three minutes, and then hops up like nothing ever happened. Still, I would rather have a no call than a free kick awarded due to a diving team.
    Few people doubted the US/Mexico final would happen. But consider that both teams are essentially the “home team” in the US right now. That is a huge advantage. I still had hoped to see Costa Rica tomorrow night though…

  7. Sludge

    July 24, 2009 at 2:57 am

    Lars is right in that the usa is always helped by the ref. The usa got past Canada in 2007 solely because of the corrupt ref. If the ref was fair, Canada would have defeated the usa.

  8. Mr.

    July 24, 2009 at 1:44 am

    That was utter BS. A Mexican player flat out hits a Costa Rican in the face in front of the ref and there’s no call? The favoritism in for the US was gross, but it just got dumber for Mexico.

    After the beer cups of celebratory idiocy started raining down, we just walked out.

    1) Fans of the Mexican team are, by and large, rowdy, drunk idiots (i.e. classic soccer fans).
    2) Fans of the Mexican team fail to, by and large, wash their hands in the mens’ restroom.
    3) The staff at Soldier field was woefully unprepared for the destructive, idiotic nature of the fans at that game.
    4) This was always going to be US v. Mexico, and the ref didn’t even begin to hide it.

  9. cuervo

    July 24, 2009 at 1:09 am

    I thought I was watching a game from Aztec Stadium rather then Soldier Field.

  10. el apache

    July 24, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I’m getting pretty sick of garbage raining down on the Costa Rican players and coaches whenever they get in range. WTF? Throw the drunks out. The fans were doing it to the Panamanians during Mexico Panama group play too, in Houston. Coincidence, or does the Tri attract some serious a holes?

  11. Lars

    July 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Elvis: Doesn’t mean that they have to make it boring and predictable with shite penalty calls designed to ensure a Mexico-US final.

  12. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 23, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I feel for the Dynamo fans but truthfully its on MLS for just plowing right through these breaks.

  13. Rex

    July 23, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Two assists by Holden and great set up on the first goal by Ching. As a Dynamo fan, CAN WE PLEASE HAVE THESE GUYS BACK?

  14. elvis

    July 23, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    to Lars,
    every tournament is ultimately about cash

  15. Lars

    July 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Will not be watching, part of my new protest against the CONCACRAP Cash Cup.

  16. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    July 23, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Agreed- s.y.l.c. just reporting that the excuse is now built in that the usa gets calls. Campbell is accussed of being pro American but the truth about him is that he simply doesn’t buy diving so he tends to not give mexican and central american teams the calls they get from other officials.

  17. s.y.l.c.

    July 23, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I wouldn’t complain of a pro-American referee. It’s rare that we even get a neutral referee when it comes to central american opponents.

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