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U.S. within two games of Gold Cup

| Sunday, July 17, 2005

FOXBORO, Mass. -- DaMarcus Beasley provided the offense and the United States moved within two wins of taking its third CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The speedy midfielder scored two goals and added an assist to lead the United States over Jamaica, 3-1, on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

"We played well today. This was our best game of the tournament," U.S. coach Bruce Arena said. "I thought we were sloppy in the second half with dealing with the game, but at the end of the day a 3-1 win is an excellent result."

The United States plays Honduras on Thursday at East Rutherford, N.J., in the semifinals of the tournament, the championship of soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region. Honduras beat Costa Rica 3-2 in the opener of the doubleheader.

The U.S. team last won the Gold Cup in 2002 and also won it in 1991, the first year the tournament was played.

In today's quarterfinals at Houston, defending champion Mexico plays Colombia and Panama meets South Africa. Colombia and South Africa were invited to the tournament as guests.

BASKETBALL

  • Attempting to quell a flood of speculation about Stan Van Gundy's future with the Miami Heat, team president Pat Riley insisted yesterday that no coaching change is imminent -- while again saying he hasn't completely ruled out a return to the sidelines in the future. "I would quit my job before I would dismiss Stan Van Gundy as the head coach simply because I wanted to coach," Riley said in a call with the team's beat writers. "Period. That's not me. Anybody who knows me know that I wouldn't do that for the sake of me wanting to get back into the job."

    HORSE RACING

  • Trainer Bob Baffert's What A Song rallied in the stretch yesterday to beat Bashert by a neck and win the $104,500 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes at Hollywood Park. Ridden by Victor Espinoza at 117 pounds, What A Song vied for the early lead in the field of five 2-year-olds before settling in third.

  • English Channel moved a step closer to capturing the Grand Slam of Grass by beating Chattahoochee War by 3 1/4 lengths yesterday in the $750,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.

    English Channel also won last month's Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs, the first leg in the Grand Slam of Grass, which was created by track owner Jeffrey Jacobs for 3-year-olds. Other races in the series are the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in Chicago on Aug. 13 and the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turn on Oct. 29 at Belmont Park in New York.

  • Cacht Wells took the lead down the stretch and held on in the drive to the wire to upset favored Relaxed Gesture by a head in yesterday's 48th running of the Grade III, $150,000 Bowling Green Handicap for 3-year-olds and older at Belmont Park.

    TENNIS

  • David Nalbandian helped Argentina earn two points and a 2-1 lead over Australia yesterday in the Davis Cup quarterfinals. France won its doubles match to lead Russia, 2-1. Nalbandian completed his singles match from a day earlier by taking the fourth set in a 6-3, 7-6 (8), 5-7, 6-2, win over Wayne Arthurs. The 2002 Wimbledon finalist then teamed with Mariano Puerta to beat Arthurs and Lleyton Hewitt, 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-3.

  • Alexandra Stevenson got the first victory of her comeback from shoulder surgery by beating Alana Van Dervort, 7-5, 6-1, in qualifying at a WTA Tour hard-court tournament. Stevenson, who in 1999 became the first female qualifier to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon, has been off the tour since having an operation on her right shoulder in September.

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