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US powers past Honduras
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 09 - 07 - 2015

FRISCO, United States — Clint Dempsey scored twice as the United States national team began its CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense Tuesday by holding on to beat Honduras 2-1.
Dempsey scored on either side of halftime for the favored Americans who came into the tournament riding a four-match friendly win streak and now move to the top of Group A standings with three points.
“It wasn't our best game, but we are happy to get three points from our first game,” Dempsey said.
The Americans and Hondurans are joined in Group A by Haiti and Panama, who played to a 1-1 draw in the first game of the 12-team, 19-day tournament's opening day doubleheader.
The US has reached the final of the past five Gold Cups, winning three. The USA, which has 16 players on the Gold Cup team that played in last year's World Cup, opened the scoring Tuesday off a scramble in front of the goal at Toyota Stadium.
Dempsey was in the right place at the right time when Honduran goalkeeper Donis Escober kicked the ball right to him in the center of the box and he made no mistake getting his head on it.
Dempsey made it 2-0 off a free kick as his leap from in front wasn't perfect but it was high enough to get his head on a piece of the ball and deflect it past a flatfooted Escober in the 63rd minute.
Substitute Carlos Discua cut the US lead to one goal just five minutes later with a clever move to split the US defense and hammer a shot over the left shoulder of goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Honduras controlled the play for much of the rest of the match but it couldn't capitalize on its chances. It failed to score on Bryan Acosta's corner in the 89th minute.
DeAndre Yedlin elbowed a Honduran attacker in the back resulting in a free kick in extra time but it squandered that opportunity as well.
In the first game at Toyota Stadium, Alberto Quintero began the scoring in the 55th minute for Panama, which was the surprise team of the last Gold Cup in 2013 when it finished runner-up to the US.
Duckens Nazon got the equalizer in the 85th minute for Haiti, which is making its sixth appearance in the regional tournament.
On Wednesday, Costa Rica plays Jamaica and El Salvador faces Canada at StubHub Center stadium in south Los Angeles.
Mexico begins play Thursday in Chicago against Cuba. Trinidad and Tobago takes on Guatemala also in Chicago.
At stake in the tournament is a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. — AP


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