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Yanks book fifth-straight Gold Cup final trip as Stu Holden goes 90 minutes, makes great runs, takes elbows to the face

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Our good friends at Stars & Stripes FC

The United States Men's National Team traveled to Dallas (actually Arlington), Texas to take on what looked to be a tough test in a pacy Honduras side in the Gold Cup quarterfinals. The Americans were riding a wave of nine straight wins as they looked to book a fifth straight Gold Cup final trip. The Americans had outscored their opponents 22-3 over the course of the Gold Cup and the Guatemala friendly that preceded it and looked to continue that run.

The Americans opened the scoring just 11 minutes into the match with a brilliant bit of play between Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson. The LA Galaxy Forward flicked on an excellent through ball into the center of the park that the bright-haired Seattle Sounders man did well to run on to. Johnson's side-footed effort into the middle of the goal went over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Their advantage was doubled on 27 minutes, this time with Johnson helping provide for a Donovan strike. Eddie Johnson's flicked-on header found Alejandro Bedoya on the right flank. Bedoya's lofted cross into the center was chested down by Donovan and hit on the volley, past the Honduran keeper, Escober.

Honduras would pull one back early in the second half as the Yanks were once again undone on a set piece. After what was a soft foul, Honduras were handed a free kick on their right flank. A great ball into the area was headed home by Nery Medina. The deficit wouldn't stay at just one for long though the Americans would restore the two goal lead immediately.

On the next American drive, it was once again the combination of Alejandro Bedoya and Landon Donovan that would see the US score. Alejandro Bedoya bombed down the right flank to get on the end of an excellent ball over the top from Clarence Goodson. Bedoya did well to cushion the ball and put a low cross right into Landon Donovan's path for a relatively easy tap-in.

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The Americans would win 3-1, after having been in total control for just about the entire match. Stu Holden started for the Americans in a midfield composed of him, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, and Jose Francisco Torres. Stu looked much more offensively-minded this time out, looking for the killer ball in as well as taking shots at goal for the first time in any of his Gold Cup appearances. Holden has played 328 minutes in five games (an average of 65.6 minutes per game). The Yanks will now travel to Chicago for the final on Sunday with a 4PM EST kickoff.