Dempsey goal sends US to final

Mexico beat Honduras in semis

Mexico beat Honduras 2-0 in the day's second semifinal, also at Reliant Stadium, thanks to extra-time goals from Aldo de Nigris and Javier Hernandez.  Panama had beaten Bob Bradley's side 2-1 in the group stage but rarely threatened in the semifinal, and for all the US possession they too were unable to created many chances in a game that was a true test of their patience.

"It was a hard game for sure. I thought that the in stretches in the first half we had a pretty good rhythm with the ball. The second half got harder and Panama did a good job of keeping it tight," said US coach Bob Bradley. "We put together a very good play to score a great goal. It was a really good team effort."

The breakthrough came 14 minutes from time when substitutes Freddy Adu and Landon Donovan combined superbly to set up Dempsey. There was a half-chance at the end for Panama, when Amilcar Henriquez bustled into the area before shooting wide, but the United States held firm to claim a hard-earned win.

Bradley sprang a surprise in his starting line-up by leaving Donovan, the long-standing creative force in the team, on the bench for the second successive game. The move worked, however, and in the first half the United States moved the ball well with Donovan's replacement, Alejandro Bedoya, impressive on the flanks.

Donovan was brought on after the break, replacing Sacha Klejstan, but did not make the instant impact that Bradley would have been hoping for. Instead, the United States lost their way a little and Panama went close to a shock opener in the 61st minute, Armando Cooper whipping the ball across the area and Alberto Quintero just failing to get on the end of it.

Cooper then burst into the area and forced a good save out of Tim Howard, who tipped the fierce shot over the bar. The hosts were finally rewarded for their dominance of possession when Adu, on as a sub for his first national team appearance in almost two years, picked out Donovan with a raking cross-field pass.

Donovan cut inside and delivered an inch-perfect pass to Dempsey at the back post, who converted the simple chance.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)