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Gold Cup: Late heroics lift USA to final

22 July 2005 06:10

EAST RUTHERFORD, Jul 22 (SW) - Two late goals by John O'Brien and Oguchi Onyewu lifted the United States to a 2-1 win over Honduras and a berth in the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup final on Sunday against either Panama or Colombia.

Honduras 1-2 United States

Looking to defend their recent rise to sixth in the FIFA world rankings, the USA did not get off to the best start as it was Honduras taking the lead on the half-hour when Mario Iván Guerrero put past Kasey Keller for 1-0.

USA defender Frankie Hejduk lost possession in his defensive third to Milton Núñez and he broke toward goal and crossed to Guerrero who blasted past Keller from just outside the penalty area.

Steve Ralston nearly equalized for the USA on 36 minutes but his shot off of a corner kick smashed against the post and Josh Wolff had a goal disallowed when Ralston was deemed offsides by the referee's assistant.

Early in the second half, USA manager Bruce Arena was ejected from the touchline area by referee Peter Prendergast of Jamaica for arguing after what Arena deemed was a foul on Chris Armas. It is the second time Prendergast and Arena have been involved in an argument, the previous incident leading to a two-game ban for Arena.

The USA, desperate for a goal came close about 15 minutes from the end when Pat Noonan's header was well saved by substitute goalkeeper Junior Morales, but ten minutes later the Americans finally found paydirt.

Defender Onyewu played the ball into the Honduras area and after deflecting off of Landon Donovan and a Honduras defender, it came to Den Haag's O'Brien who beat Morales for his first international goal since the 2002 World Cup against Portugal.

With the game headed for extra time, the Americans found the resolve to score a winner as Onyewu played the role of hero for the Stars & Stripes. Three minutes into stoppage time, Donovan took a free kick and sent it to the far post where Onyewu rose to head it off the bottom of the crossbar and into the net for a dramatic win.

Honduras: Víctor Coello (Junior Morales 45); Samuel Caballeros, Erick Vallecilo, Maynor Figueroa, Asthor Enríquez (Luís Guifarro 89); Oscar García, Mario Berrios, Danilo Turcios (Wilson Palacios 75), Mario Iván Guerrero; Wilmer Velázquez, Milton Núñez.

Subs not used: Junior Izaguirre, José Ramírez, Carlos Moran, Hendry Thomas.

USA: Kasey Keller; Oguchi Onyewu, Eddie Pope (Frankie Hejduk 15), Jimmy Conrad; Chris Armas, Pablo Mastroeni (Clint Dempsey 58), John O'Brien, Landon Donovan; Steve Ralston, Josh Wolff (Pat Noonan 63), DaMarcus Beasley.

Subs not used: Marcus Hahnemann (GK), Greg Vanney, Santino Quaranta, Tony Sanneh.

Goals: Guerrero 30; O'Brien 86, Onyewu 90.

Cautions: Turcios 49, Berrios 58, García 72; Mastroeni 34.

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