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Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win

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USATSI

Gold Cup roundup: Five takeaways from USMNT's championship win

For the sixth time in Gold Cup tournament history, the United States hoisted the championship trophy – this time in front of 63,000 fans Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.
 
Jozy Altidore opened the scoring in the 45th minute with a beautiful free kick. However, Jamaica equalized only five minutes into the second half.
 
Stanford product Jordan Morris later scored the game-winner in the 88th minute to secure a U.S. title. 
 
Here are five things you should know about the U.S.’ latest tournament championship.
 
-- Aside from a little extra gold in the trophy case, the biggest thing the United States takes from winning the cup is confidence. They’ll have about a month worth of rest before the Hexagon resumes – and right out of the gate, it’s a date with Costa Rica, who the U.S. beat on their road to the tournament title.
 
Currently, Costa Rica sits three points clear of the U.S. in the CONCACAF’s 2018 World Cup qualifying table. A victory against Los Ticos on Sept. 1 would be the biggest win of this latest Bruce Arena era.
 
-- Speaking of Bruce Arena, it can’t be understated just how big of tournament win this is for the U.S. Soccer manager. Hired to jumpstart a team that to many pundits looked flat and lacked fire under Jurgen Klismann, Arena has now won a trophy, helped the USMNT get back into Hex contention and has not lost a match. In 15 matches, Arena has a 9-0-6 record. He now has 84 career wins as the USMNT front man.
 
-- We’re still on record breaker watch since Clint Dempsey did not start or play in Wednesday’s final. The Seattle Sounders, who recently took down the San Jose Earthquakes to move ahead of them in the standings and are Dempsey’s club of employment, play their next MLS fixture on Saturday. The risk of shot rest could explain Bruce Arena’s apprehension to not start Dempsey. He came in during the 57th minute. Captain America came really close to scoring twice. 
 
So, the record, shared by Dempsey and Landon Donovan at 57 international goals, will sit there for at least another match.
 
-- Quick look at the numbers and there isn’t a clear contender for the U.S. Player of the Gold Cup. So after stumbles against Panama and Martinique to start the tournament, what was most impressive is how the U.S. defense came together to close out the Gold Cup. In five games, they surrendered just one goal. So, hats off to Omar Gonzalez, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Jorge Villafaña who were instrumental during that stretch – but let us not forget Matt Hedges, Eric Lichaj and Justin Morrow who really got that impressive defensive stretch rolling.
 
-- Morris had been struggling to score all season but he may have now forced Arena’s hand with his Gold Cup performance. While he did get beat on defense on Jamaica’s goal, the search for a (consistent) scoring foward by the USMNT as qualifiers creeps up is ongoing. Morris, who burst onto the MLS scene last season, is making a strong case for himself.

Late goal in 93rd minute puts away Earthquakes in loss to Rapids

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Late goal in 93rd minute puts away Earthquakes in loss to Rapids

BOX SCORE

COMMERCE CITY -- Nana Boateng scored his first MLS goal in the 93rd minute to help the Colorado Rapids beat the 10-man San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 on Saturday night.

Boateng took Edgar Castillo's short pass and found some room in the penalty area before cutting back a shot that skipped though two San Jose defenders and outside the reach of the goalkeeper.

Shea Salinas was sent off in the 88th minute for throwing a reactive elbow that hit Dillon Serna in the face. Serna was given a yellow card for the instigating foul against Salinas.

Tommy Smith opened the scoring for Colorado (6-12-5) in the 24th minute, heading home Kellyn Acosta's cross that was played in after a short corner.

Magnus Eriksson converted a penalty for San Jose (3-13-7) in the 58th minute to level it at 1. Guram Kashia drew the penalty against Kortne Ford.

Earthquakes down FC Dallas for first win since May behind Vako brace

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Earthquakes down FC Dallas for first win since May behind Vako brace

FRISCO, Texas  — Valeri Qazaishvili scored twice and the San Jose Earthquakes snapped a 12-game winless streak with a 3-1 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday night.

Qazaishvili opened the scoring for the Quakes (3-12-7) in the 19th minute, hurdling Jesse Gonzalez after the goalkeeper came off his line but failed to stop Shea Salinas’s long ball. Qazaishvili then outmaneuvered defender Matt Hedges before finishing from near the end line.

Qazaishvili also capped the scoring in the 88th minute with a sliding finish of Chris Wondolowski’s low cross.

Jahmir Hyka gave San Jose a 2-1 lead in the 47th minute, settling Aníbal Godoy’s chip pass and sending a low shot in that slipped under Gonzalez.

Roland Lamah tied it at 1 for Western Conference-leading FC Dallas (12-4-6) with a left-footed stab on Michael Barrios’ cross in the 23rd minute.