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US finishes Gold Cup group play undefeated, takes first in Group B
The United States’ Mens National Soccer Team finished group play of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 2-0-1 record and first place in Group B. The US had a little more trouble then expected in group play, but still managed to come out on top despite resting several key players each game.

Cuba was first on the US’ schedule on July 7th and they provided the US a scare in the 18th minute, when Lester More sent home a pass from Alain Cervantes, giving Cuba the early lead. New England Revolution second year midfielder Clint Dempsey started the match for the US. The US controlled the match through the rest of the game and tied it up just before halftime when an unmarked Dempsey received a cross from DaMarcus Beasley and settled it before slotting it home for his second career international goal. Landon Donovan gave the US a lead in the 87th minute when he sent home a curling free kick from just outside of the box into the left corner of the net. Three minutes later Beasley added to the lead when he received a through ball from Santino Quarenta and got free of the defense before hitting it past Cuba ‘keeper Odelin Molina. Donovan finished the scoring in the 2nd minute of stoppage time, easily finishing off a square ball from Beasley.

Against Canada on July 9th, the US again left it to late. Pat Noonan and Steve Ralston of the New England Revolution started the match for the US. In a game where both teams had chances to take the lead, it wasn’t until the 48th minute that the US got off the mark and took the lead. John O’Brien’s long shot into the box, seemingly headed for the keeper, was headed into the net and out of reach by Canadian defender Atiba Hutchinson for an own goal. The US finally put the game out of reach in stoppage time when Landon Donovan connected with a DaMarcus Beasley cross and scored his 25th international goal with a diving header.

The US finished off the group stages with a match against Costa Rica in Foxboro Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium on July 12th. Needing a tie or win to clinch first in Group the US rested several players and Noonan, Ralston and Dempsey all got the start in front of their home crowd. The match was marked by great defensive efforts by each team with the US limiting Costa Rica to just three shots, while the US was limited to 8. Neither side managed to break down the other sides defense and despite several good chances for the US the match ended at 0-0 giving the US the top spot in Group B and sending them into the Quarterfinals to face Jamaica.
July 16, 2005 Sean Donahue


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