Clint Dempsey (pictured) goes to celebrate after scoring one of his two goals in the USA's CONCACAF Gold Cup win over Honduras on July 7, 2015, in Frisco, Texas. (Photo: Mexsport)
FRISCO, Texas – Ten years to the day he scored his first CONCACAF Gold Cup goal, Clint Dempsey struck twice to lead the United States to a 2-1 Group A win over Honduras in both teams’ opening match of the 2015 competition on Tuesday.
The Americans, who improved to 13-0-0 in Gold Cup openers, moved into the early group lead with three points. Haiti and Panama, which played to a 1-1 draw in the opening game of the doubleheader at Toyota Stadium, each collected a point. Honduras has none.
After absorbing pressure in the opening 15 minutes, including a dangerous shot by Anthony Lozano that goalkeeper Brad Guzan parried away, the defending champion took the lead in the 25th minute.
Honduras was unable to clear a Michael Bradley cross off a short corner. The ball fell to Jozy Altidore, whose shot from the edge of the six-yard box was saved by goalkeeper Donis Escobar. Dempsey pounced on the rebound and headed it home.
He netted again in the 64th minute, heading Bradley’s left-sided free kick downward from four-yards out and inside the far post.
Seconds after entering the match, Carlos Discua pulled the Catrachos within a goal in the 69th minute. The Motagua midfielder cut around Fabian Johnson and into the box, putting a left-footed shot past Guzan from eight yards.
The U.S. nearly had a third goal in the 78th minute as Escobar made a difficult save off another Bradley free kick.
Eddie Hernandez came inches away from equalizing for Honduras, but couldn’t put in a cross. The ball deflected off his thigh and out of bounds in the 82nd minute.
Moments later, Hernandez – the 2014 Central American & Caribbean Games’ top scorer with six goals -- had another chance. He took a pass from Discua and turned into the box, missing with a low shot.
The teams resume Group A action at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Friday night as Honduras faces Panama and the U.S. meets Haiti.
NOTES: Clint Dempsey scored his first Gold Cup goal in a 4-1 triumph over Cuba on July 7, 2005 … Dempsey has now scored at least one goal in four different editions of the Gold Cup and has struck seven times in the competition.