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Holden sits out as Americans book Gold Cup semi-final spot

Patrick McDermott

After two consecutive starts for the United States Men's National Team, manager Jurgen Klinsmann elected to leave Stu Holden on the bench in favor of a central pairing of Kyle Beckerman and Mix Diskerud. The Americans, who had finished top of their group in the first stage of the Gold Cup, faced off against El Salvador in what was a crowd made up mostly by the visitors (leading by a vast majority) in Baltimore.

The Americans would start off quickly, going two goals to the good inside the first 30 minutes thanks to a 21st minute goal from Clarence Goodson on a well-worked corner routine before Joe Corona doubled the advantage from the edge of the area just before the half hour mark. Costa Rica would pull one back before halftime though with Rodolfo Zelaya beating goalkeeper Nick Rimando from the spot with an admittedly lovely chipped penalty.

Despite a great start to the second half by El Salvador, it was the Americans who would make their attacks count, scoring three times before the final whistle. Perhaps the most impressive was from 60th minute substitute, Eddie Johnson, who scored with his first touch just 14 seconds after getting into the match. Landon Donovan and Mix Diskerud would both add goals to set the final score at 5-1.

Stu Holden had played in the Americans' last four games straight prior to this one, going a total of 238 minutes in those four outings (average of 59.5 minutes per game).

The Americans will now face off against Honduras at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, TX on Wednesday night with a 7pm EST kick-off time. The winner will take on the victor of the Panama v. Mexico quarterfinal in Chicago on Sunday.