By Julie Glass
The U.S. Men’s National Team got two first-half goals from Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj to earn a 2-0 victory against El Salvador in the quarterfinals of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup before 31,615 at Lincoln Financial Field.
With the win, the U.S. MNT moves on to its 13th Gold Cup semifinal where it will face Costa Rica this Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (10 p.m. ET; FS1).
The victory also extends the USA’s unbeaten run to 12 matches (7-0-5) since Bruce Arena returned as head coach, setting a team-record unbeaten streak at the start of a U.S. MNT coaching tenure.
After an early scare that saw Tim Howard come off his line to deny Rodolfo Zelaya’s breakaway in the third minute, the USA had a golden opportunity of its own four minutes later when Clint Dempsey’s effort inside the box was smothered by El Salvador goalkeeper Derby Carillo.
The U.S. looked to jump ahead 10 minutes later when Dempsey fed Gyasi Zardes inside the left side of the box and he buried his effort past Carrillo, but despite appearing even at the time Dempsey played the ball, Zardes was judged to be in an offside position.
After some nervy moments in which El Salvador heavily pressed the MNT back line, the U.S. found two goals before the break. The first came in the 41st minute when Michael Bradley’s driven free kick from the left picked out Omar Gonzalez, who nodded his effort past Carrillo’s outstretched arms to tally his second goal in as many matches.
The advantage doubled in the second minute of first half stoppage time. A build-up through midfield led to Justin Morrow finding Dempsey, who took the ball on the turn before finding right back Eric Lichaj in full stride entering the area. Lichaj took one touch before burying his first international goal through Carrillo’s legs.
Spurred by the crowd, El Salvador stayed dangerous in the second half, but saw most of their attempts sent off frame of Tim Howard’s goal. Back the other way, Dempsey had another decent chance to increase the lead to three, but saw Carrillo make a diving stop on his 75th minute attempt.