PHILADELPHIA – The United States advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals for the 13th time in 14 attempts with a 2-0 win over El Salvador on Wednesday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
Defenders Omar Gonzalez and Eric Lichaj scored late in the first half as the Americans improved to 9W-1D-0L in quarterfinal encounters, while El Salvador remained winless in five outings at the same stage (0-1-4).
Michael Bradley was one of six players added to the U.S. roster after the group stage and he was impactful, capturing man of the match honors.
In the 41st minute, the midfielder whipped in a low free kick from the left that Gonzalez glanced with his head from seven-yards out just over the outstretched hands of Derby Carrillo for a 1-0 lead.
The advantage was doubled in the second minute of first-half stoppage time, when Clint Dempsey – making the first appearance of his fifth Gold Cup – slipped a splendid pass into the left side of the box for Lichaj, who beat Carrillo with a composed left-footed finish from eight-yards out.
The goal was the 800th in Gold Cup history.
El Salvador had a chance to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute. A short backpass by Lichaj was collected by Rodolfo Zelaya, who raced towards the U.S. box. Goalkeeper Tim Howard charged out to make the stop.
The Americans will face Costa Rica – a 1-0 winner over Panama earlier in the evening – in a final-four meeting on Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Gold Cup quarterfinal play will continue Thursday with a doubleheader at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Jamaica will face Canada in the opener, followed by Mexico-Honduras.