PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – The CONCACAF Gold Cup will always have a special place in Joe Corona’s heart.
That’s because each of the United States midfielder’s three international goal were scored in the competition.
“You can’t really describe how it feels when you score a goal for your country,” Corona told CONCACAF.com. “I just feel this is a step to keep coming in and doing my best here, so in the future I can be a full-time player for the national team.”
Corona, who plays for Club Tijuana, remembers the first like it was yesterday, even though it was actually notched on July 13, 2013, in a 4-1 win over Cuba Sandy, Utah.
“Since the tournament started I was looking for that goal,” he described. “I remember being outside of the box. Edgar Castillo played the ball to Stuart Holden and he tried to control it, but then a defender came and he flicked it off him and I just got that perfect ball outside the box. I didn’t think about it, I just shot it first time and I remember it was a very nice goal.”
Corona’s second international goal was in a 5-1 win over El Salvador in the 2013 quarterfinals. The U.S. went on to win the competition and the 27-year-old is hoping history repeats itself when the same two teams meet Wednesday in the quarterfinals at Lincoln Financial Field.
“That tournament we were very fortunate to win it. I have very good memories,” said Corona. “Now that I’m here with the national team I’m very happy and very excited to have a good tournament and hopefully we can win it again.”
Corona’s third goal was in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Nicaragua that clinched the top spot for the U.S. in Group B.
“He’s done a good job,” said U.S. head coach Bruce Arena about Corona. “We’ve played him in a couple of different ways. He scored a big goal the other day and has been pretty solid. This is my first time seeing Joe in person, so it’s been good working with him the last three or four weeks. Hopefully, he continues to do well with his club team and can continue to be part of our program.”