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US, Mexico Advance to CONCACAF Gold Cup Soccer Finals

The U.S. Men's Soccer team has defeated Honduras in the North, Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF) Gold Cup Tournament Semi Finals. Mexico defeated Costa Rica in the second match of the night Thursday and will face the United States in the finals on Sunday in New York.

It was the second time the United States and Honduras met on the field in the CONCACAF Gold Cup Tournament. But the match would be the end to Honduran hopes for a Gold Cup finals appearance, thanks in part to a goal late in the first half of play by Clarence Goodson.

"It was a momentum changer for sure. It gave us a psychological lift obviously one zero gave us a huge boost, and for them to come out of the first half with nothing I'm sure they went to the locker room pretty depressed, so it was a big momentum changer," Goodson said.

Goodson is one of ten U.S. players to score during the tournament. Teammate Kenny Cooper scored the other U.S. goal in the second half, ultimately defeating Honduras 2-0.

In a post-game news conference, reporters asked U.S. head coach Bob Bradley if the recent political turmoil in Honduras contributed to the defeat of their national team. Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was removed from office in a military coup on June 28, and has so far been unable to return to his country.

"As far as the political situation, I'm sure it's on their minds, how could it not be?" Bradley said. "The fact that they have still been successful in this tournament is a credit to the team and the way they handled things."

Soldier Field hosted a near capacity crowd, which filled the stadium for the second game of the night when Mexico and Costa Rica took the field, with the crowd mostly favoring Mexico.

The rough, sometimes contentious, but exciting match between the two Latin American rivals went into overtime when regulation ended with both teams tied 1-1. The game went on through two 15-minute periods with no scoring. It ended when Mexico defeated Costa Rica in a penalty kick shootout. The final score was 5-3.

U.S. Head Coach Bob Bradley remains undefeated in Gold Cup play, and Sunday's game is the third consecutive Gold Cup Final appearance for the U.S. team. Mexico is looking for a record fifth Gold Cup Final win.

The teams square off Sunday at Giants Stadium in New Jersey for the final match of the 2009 Gold Cup Tournament.

But both teams will meet again in August in a closely watched World Cup qualifying match. Mexico has home field advantage at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.