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Direct from Texas

The First 30: Klinsmann Thrilled with Opening Salvo

Honduras went into the match hoping to grind out a victory against the United States. Instead, they were vanquished by Jurgen Klinsmann’s men, who executed his game plan to a T.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
July 25, 2013
8:19 AM
ARLINGTON, Texas—It took 11 minutes for the United States to break through the Honduras back line and 16 more to get another goal, essentially putting a win against el Bicolor—and a place in the Gold Cup Final—on ice.

It was exactly how the coach drew it up.

“We are really happy with how things are going because I think the first 30 minutes was brilliant football. Brilliant.” Jurgen Klinsmann said after the match.

With the Hondurans hoping to use strong defense and possession to slow the talented American attack, Klinsmann crafted his typical game plan demanding an active performance from his team.

“We said we want to come out with high pressure, high pressure, moving quickly the ball around, creating chances, and that’s what they did,” he said. “That’s just sort of a huge compliment how those 30 minutes went.”

From the first whistle the match moved at a rapid pace, with the U.S. bossing the pace and controlling possession. The first 10 minutes didn’t see many things pop up on the stat sheet, but they were key for the U.S. in establishing the tone.

Once the U.S. made it clear it would be battering los Catrachos’ net, they wasted little time in getting an opening goal, thanks to a long Clarence Goodson pass to Landon Donovan who connected with an in-stride Eddie Johnson.

Starting quickly and controlling possession is the same thing the manager hopes his team does against Panama, an opponent that will likely play a more open match than Honduras.

“Analyzing them, and creating our game plan, and hopefully executing the game plan like they did today the first 30 minutes,” Klinsmann said of his plans for the final. “They did exactly what we talked about, and it was fun.”

Donovan, a player who talks often about finding satisfaction on the playing field, had a nice time, showing some emotion in the celebration after his second goal, a tap-in that gave the U.S. some breathing room just a minute after Honduras scored to draw within one. “I’m enjoying myself,” he said. “I think it’s the most relaxed I’ve ever felt and the most enjoyable it’s felt in a long time. When that’s the case I play well.”

The only way for the U.S. to have more fun? Executing the game plan for 90 minutes on Sunday, and popping some champagne after lifting the Gold Cup.

Jon Arnold is an ASN contributing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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