U.S. beat Haiti, advance to Gold Cup quarter-finals

Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:36pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The United States secured a quarter-final spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup when they beat Haiti 1-0 on Friday, while Panama and Honduras drew 1-1 in the other Group A match in Massachusetts.

A Clint Dempsey goal early in the second half secured the Americans' win, though Haiti were far from overawed and had several good scoring chances that went begging.

The U.S. won their first group stage game against Honduras and have six points from two games, while Panama have two points, Honduras and Haiti one point each.

The U.S. meet Panama in their final group match, while Honduras plays Haiti. The top-two qualify for the quarter-finals with the two best-placed third teams also advancing.

Though the U.S. and Haiti were deadlocked at half-time, the Americans were unlucky to have an Aron Johannsson goal disallowed for offside.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann sent on Gyasi Zardes at half-time in place of fellow striker Jozy Altidore, a move that paid quick dividends when the Los Angeles Galaxy player found Dempsey with a perfect pass that led to the game's only goal.

"He made a great play for us and we'll count on him to continue making some big plays for us," American captain Michael Bradley said of Zardes.

Earlier, Panama and Honduras played an ill-tempered match during which tempers boiled over several times in the second half as referee Marlon Mejia struggled to keep control.

Panama's players were particularly incensed, especially when they were denied two penalties and had defender Luis Henriquez sent off for a second yellow, while four others were booked.   Continued...