Quaranta, Ching score for U.S. in Gold Cup win
July 9, 2009
WASHINGTON – Santino Quaranta broke a scoreless tie in the 75th minute and Brian Ching followed with a header in the 79th, giving the United States a 2-0 win against Honduras in the Gold Cup on Wednesday night.
The United States, two-time defending champion in the competition contested among the countries of North and Central America and the Caribbean, is 23-0-1 in Gold Cup group play.
The Americans are 2-0 and lead Group B going into their final first-round match against Haiti on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass., where a draw will be enough to clinch the group and move into the quarterfinals.
Honduras (1-1) will face winless Grenada, also in Foxborough. Haiti (1-1) beat Grenada in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader 2-0.
Quaranta took a short pass from Charlie Davies, who replaced Freddy Adu in the 64th minute, at the top of the penalty box and fired in his first goal for the national team. Four minutes later, Ching put in his header from the goal box to seal the victory.
It is nearly an entirely different roster from the U.S. team that made a surprise run to the Confederations Cup championship game last month; most regulars were given a rest for the Gold Cup.
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The Americans last played Honduras on June 6 in a World Cup qualifying match, but the only American who was dressed for that game and Wednesday’s match was Benny Feilhaber, who came on in the 64th minute.
The crowd of 26,079 at RFK Stadium had a pro-Honduras bent, although cheers greeted both teams’ offensive chances.
Both squads had several opportunities before the United States broke through.
In the 15th minute, Quaranta had a header go wide left of the goalpost. Adu started the sequence with a nifty heel kick to Robbie Rogers, who took the ball deep into the left side of the penalty area before sending a cross to Quaranta in the middle. He dived and sent the header toward the post.
The Americans had another chance in the 22nd minute. Kyle Beckerman passed to Ching in the box. Ching chipped the ball over goalkeeper Donis Escobar, but he couldn’t regain his footing as he chased down the ball and Honduras cleared off the goal line. Ching had another chance in the 51st minute when he took a cross right in front of the net and his shot went over the bar.
Honduras had a golden opportunity in the 30th minute. Walter Martinez had a breakaway with only goalkeeper Troy Perkins to beat, but his shot was just wide, hitting the right side of the goal netting.