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US returns to Gold Cup final

sports Updated: Jul 24, 2009 14:08 IST

AFP
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The United States blanked Honduras 2-0 on Thursday to earn a berth in their third-straight CONCACAF Golf Cup final.

Kenny Cooper scored as the game reached 90 minutes to clinch the win while Clarence Goodson's goal late in the first half proved to be the winner.

The United States will meet the winner of Mexico against Costa Rica on Sunday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The Americans have won the past two Gold Cup titles.

"It's a big opportunity for all of us, and we're all trying to take advantage of that," said Goodson.

Goalkeeper Troy Perkins helped seal the win with a key stop with five minutes to go. He posted his third shutout of the tournament.

It was the American's third victory in two months over Honduras.

"We have to accept reality and learn from what we experienced here," Honduran coach Reinaldo Rueda said. "We didn't reach our objective in reaching the final."

The US team, which has not dropped a game in the event, fired 17 shots at the Honduran net compared to just 10 for their opponents.

"They're not intimidated by the situations," said American player Brian Ching of some of his younger teammates. "Some of the guys have shown well, and that's always a good sign of things to come."

American coach Bob Bradley said their success in the Gold Cup shows that the sport is on the rise in the US.

"It's a good sign," Bradley said. "It shows that people are working together.

"It's important that our programme, not just the senior national team, but on down to our youth teams, that we continue to grow."

Bradley said Honduras made them work for Thursday's win.

"I think Honduras also proved in this tournament that they also have a deep pool of players because we know the players for their team that are not here," Bradley said. "I think it shows again Rueda does a good job in terms of how he looks to move players in and the options that he has."