Clint Dempsey fed Jozy Altidore for the go-ahead 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 the CONCACAF Gold Cup championship game at AT&T Stadium.
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 on Wednesday at Santa Clara, California. The other semifinal will be played Sunday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
The US team 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.
Tim Howard got his second straight shutout, making key saves on Marco Urena in the 37th and 71st minutes.
After the second save, Dempsey took a pass from Darlington Nagbe in the center circle, made a cut, and took three touches as he sprinted toward goal. Altidore one-timed a shot for his first national team goal since September and ripped off his No. 27 jersey in a wild celebration, earning a yellow card.
Dempsey’s goal sealed the win, putting the US team back in the championship after a shocking semifinal loss to Jamaica two years ago. He was playing for the first time in AT&T Stadium, the $1.2 billion home stadium of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys that is about 180 miles from his hometown of Nacogdoches.
‘‘Congratulations, Clint,’’ Donovan said while working on the Fox telecast of the game. ‘‘Feel free to stop now, we’ll share it together.’’
Sporting KC 1, Real Salt Lake 1 — Benny Feilhaber scored on a penalty kick to help Sporting Kansas City to a draw with host Real Salt Lake, extending its unbeaten streak to seven games.
Kansas City (8-4-9) hasn’t lost since May 27, 1-0 loss to the Rapids.
Feilhaber drew a penalty in the area against Marcelo Silva and converted from the spot to make it 1-1 in the 59th minute.
Luis Silva opened the scoring in the 43rd. Danilo Acosta played a long ball down the left sideline behind Joao Plata, who dropped it to Silva for the finish — past the outstretched arms of Tim Melia — into the side-net.
FC Dallas 2, Impact 1 — Cristian Colman scored his first two goals of the season as FC Dallas rallied in Montreal.
Colman pulled Dallas (9-3-7) even in the 52nd minute. The forward got on the end of a low cross in the box that eluded three Montreal defenders for an easy tap-in past goalkeeper Evan Bush.
In the 62nd, Colman had a highlight-reel goal. The 23-year-old Paraguayan, making just his seventh start of the season, beautifully chested down a long cross from Carlos Gruezo, evaded Bush’s charge in the box and easily slotted home his second of the encounter.
Crew 1, Union 0 — Justin Meram scored his career-best ninth goal of the season as host Columbus beat Philadelphia.
Columbus (10-10-1) has won three of its last four, including back-to-back shutouts.
Rapids 1, Toronto FC 1 — Dominique Badji scored in the 76th minute and Colorado tied Toronto for the Rapids’ first road point of the season.
Badji beat goalkeeper Clint Irwin with a low shot to the corner after Armando Cooper’s giveaway near midfield. Jay Chapman scored for Toronto in the fifth minute.
Toronto (11-3-7) remained unbeaten at BMO Field this season at 7-0-3, but its home winning streak ended at seven. Colorado (6-11-2) improved to 0-7-1 on the road.
Dynamo 3, D.C. United 1 — Andrew Wenger had one goal and one assist and Alex Lima added three assists as Houston beat D.C. United for its first road victory of the season.
D.C. United (5-13-3) has lost five in a row, including a 4-3 loss to Seattle — in which United held a 3-0 second-half lead — on Wednesday.
Wenger opened the scoring with a bouncing header, off a corner kick by Lima, in the sixth minute. Mauro Manotas made it 2-0 in the 15th, side-footing a perfectly placed cross from Lima into an open net, and Memo Rodriguez made it 3-0 with a header in the 17th. Lima, on the right side, dropped a back-footer to Wenger, who first-timed a high pass to Rodriguez for the finish from near the spot.
Red Bulls 3, Minnesota United 0 — Daniel Royer had a goal and an assist as New York won in Minnesota. New York (10-8-2) has won three consecutive road matches for the first time since 2013 and three in a row overall.
Royer took a pass from Felipe Martins near midfield and, after a few dribbles, blasted a shot from well outside the box just inside the left post in the 16th minute. Bradley Wright-Phillips took a long, arcing pass from Royer, shielded a defender with his left shoulder and rolled it off the outstretched arm of Bobby Shuttleworth into the net in the 67th. lex Muyl capped the scoring in the 90th minute.
New York City FC 2, Fire 1 — David Villa and Frederic Brillant scored minutes apart early in the second half as NYCFC beat Chicago to extend its home unbeaten streak to seven games.
Sean Johnson had a season-high seven saves for New York City (11-6-4), which has scored in a franchise-record 21 consecutive home matches.
Villa opened the scoring in the 47th minute, putting away a volley, off a feed from Jonathan Lewis, from just outside the top of the box. Moments later, Brillant headed home the rebound of his own header to make it 2-0. Maximiliano Moralez played a cross, off a set piece, into the area and Brillant’s header was stopped by Matt Lampson, but Brillant’s putback — a diving header — found the back of the net.
David Accam scored in the 54th minute for Chicago (11-4-5).
The Fire had an 11-game unbeaten streak dating to April 29.
Dash 1, Breakers 0 — Nichelle Prince scored in the 23th minute to propel Houston (6-7-2) over visiting Boston (3-7-5), despite 10 saves by Abby Smith.
Defender Julie King made her 102nd appearance for the Breakers, tying Kristine Lilly for most in franchise history.
The Breakers return home to Jordan Field for their next game Aug. 4 against FC Kansas City.
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El Salvador defender Henry Romero was suspended for his nation’s next six competitive matches and midfielder Darwin Ceren for the next three, penalties announced three days after they bit American players during a CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football said Saturday the discipline was issued by the Gold Cup disciplinary committee for ‘‘anti-sporting behavior.’’
Romero bit Jozy Altidore on the back of a shoulder and twisted a nipple during jostling at the goal line ahead of a corner kick in the second half of El Salvador’s 2-0 loss in Philadelphia. Ceren bit Omar Gonzalez on the back of a shoulder.
Altidore was asked about the suspensions after he scored in the US team’s 2-0 semifinal victory over Costa Rica late Saturday night.
”Look, it’s unfortunate. You don’t wish bad on people,’’ Altidore said. ‘‘But I’m sure he can tell you, it was a wild play and something I’m sure he’s not proud of.’’