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BALTIMORE – The passes were sharp, the defense sound and the goals plentiful.

The United States couldn’t have played much better, and the timing could not have been more perfect.

Clarence Goodson and Joe Corona scored during an eight-minute span of the first half, and the U.S. team cruised past El Salvador 5-1 Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.

Eddie Johnson of Sounders FC, Landon Donovan and Mix Diskerud added second-half goals for the United States, which will play Honduras in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday.

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Honduras beat Costa Rica 1-0 as part of a doubleheader before a crowd of 70,540 at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL Baltimore Ravens.

Assists aren’t an official statistic in the Gold Cup, but Donovan set up three scores .

“I think Landon proved again today how valuable he is and now he can make a difference,” U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. “This game was important for coaches to see who is a difference maker. Overall, we see our team clicking more and playing better and better.”

The United States has won nine straight full international matches — a record for the national team. The U.S. squad also has prevailed in seven of its last eight Gold Cup matches, the exception being a 4-2 loss to Mexico in 2011 final.

“We are trying to catch up with the big teams in the world,” Klinsmann said. “It’s all about speed. I’m not talking about physical speed. I’m talking about mental speed, passing speed with every player going both ways. That’s what we’re working to. This is a process and I think that process is coming along.”


Phil Woosnam, who was the North American Soccer League’s commissioner from 1968 to 1982 and had a brief stint as coach of the U.S. national team, died Friday in Dunwoody, Ga., of complications related to prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. He was 80.

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