A quarterfinal match of the 2013 Gold Cup between the United States and El Salvador turned into the Landon Donovan show, as the attacking midfielder scored one goal and assisted on three others to lead the Americans to an easy victory over El Salvador, sending them through to the semi-finals.
Donovan has played well in the first three games of the tournament, but in the Americans’ first knock-out game, he took his play to another level. Coming into the Gold Cup, Donovan’s future with the national team was dependent on how he performed during the tournament, and he has answered the call every step of the way.
After a long hiatus from the national team, Donovan has shown off all the talents and skills American soccer fans are accustomed to seeing from him. Against El Salvador, Donovan displayed great vision, crisp passing and innate playmaking ability. Donovan also showed off a great burst of speed now more than a decade into his international career, as well as the ability to finish off goal-scoring chances.
When El Salvador was pushing for an equalizer and the game opened up, Donovan took over and sparked a barrage of goals that sealed victory for the Americans. Donovan’s performance in the second half made the U.S. look like the best team in the tournament and made him look like the best player in the tournament.
It’s been quite a while since Donovan took over a game like that for the United States, as his performance gave the Americans their best performance and their most convincing win of the Gold Cup. In typical Donovan fashion, he’s starting to play at his best as the stage gets bigger. With Donovan’s performance starting to peak and the roster additions of Eddie Johnson, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler for the knock-out stage, the U.S. looks poised to win the Gold Cup.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google+.