Dempsey ties record as U.S. se­cures Gold Cup fi­nal

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Steven Hawkins

Clint Dempsey fed Jozy Alti­dore for the goa­head goal, then scored on a free kick to match Lan­don Dono­van’s Amer­i­can record with his 57th in­ter­na­tional goal and lead the United States over Costa Rica 2-0 Satur­day night and into Wed­nes­day’s CONCACAF Gold Cup cham­pi­onship game.

Play­ing in his home state of Texas, the 34-year-old Dempsey en­tered in the 66th minute and made a per­fectly timed through pass six min­utes later that al­lowed Alti­dore to break in alone and beat Pa­trick Pem­ber­ton with a left-footed shot from 10 yards.

Dempsey dou­bled the lead in the 82nd minute with a 27-yard shot that went around a four-man de­fen­sive wall and got past Pem­ber­ton on two bounces.

“I saw the keeper cheating a lit­tle bit, and it went in,” Dempsey said.

Dempsey has 136 in­ter­na­tional ap­pear­ances, trail­ing only Cobi Jones (164) and Dono­van (157) among Amer­i­can play­ers. The as­sist was his 20th for the na­tional team.

“Com­ing back from two heart pro­ce­dures, be­ing able to still play at this level,” Dempsey said in his Texas twang, “liv­ing a dream. So I’m happy.”

Try­ing for their sixth Gold Cup ti­tle and first since 2013, the Amer­i­cans play Mex­ico or Ja­maica in the fi­nal at Santa Clara, Cal­i­for­nia.

The U.S. im­proved to 8-0-5 since Bruce Arena re­placed Jur­gen Klins­mann in Novem­ber and re­turned for a sec­ond stint as na­tional team coach.

Arena can be­come the first coach to win three Gold Cup ti­tles fol­low­ing cham­pi­onships in 2002 and 2005.

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