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USA Advances to Gold Cup Finals

Bob Bradley made all the right moves, there was a Freddy Adu sighting, and Clint Dempsey scored in the 76th minute on a perfect pass from Landon Donovan to give the United States men’s national team a 1-0 win over Panama in the Gold Cup semifinals. The US now moves on to the Rose Bowl to face the winner of the Mexico vs. Honduras match in the Gold Cup final.

 



The first half went by without much excitement, and in fact it was rather boring. The only thing worth mentioning happened in the 25th minute, when Juan Agudelo, who started at striker in place of the injured Jozy Altidore, hit the post when he headed a cross from Steve Cherundolo. The USA seemed to lack creativity in the first half, with Sacha Klejstian and Alejandro Bedoya in the midfield. Changes were needed, and Bob Bradley pushed the right buttons.



Golden boy Landon Donovan came on for Klejstian at the start of the second half, after not starting for the second straight game. The move proved to be a good one, as Donovan provided Clint Dempsey with a pinpoint cross that Dempsey easily tapped in for the game winning goal.

 


Bradley also made another move which proved to pay dividends. In rather surprising fashion, Freddy Adu made his first appearance for the national team in two years, coming on for Juan Agudelo with about twenty five minutes left. Adu played in the midfield, starting the build up that led to the goal. He played a great ball over the top to a streaking Landon Donovan, who set up Dempsey for the finish.



The good thing about Adu, is that he’s not afraid to take defenders on, and even if he does give up the ball sometimes by dribbling a bit much, he’s a little more creative than some of the other midfielders. Too much in the first half, the US midfield wasn’t getting forward, and it seemed like they didn’t know what they were doing. They need to dribble more at the defense then make a pass, instead of waiting for the defense to settle back in before attacking.



The US has looked stronger in recent games after their slow start, and they have hit their stride at just the right time. Now all we need is Mexico to do their part and defeat Honduras tonight, and we’ll have the final that everyone has been waiting for. The final is set for Saturday night at 9:00 PM Eastern, live on Fox Soccer Channel.

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