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It wasn't pretty, but it was a win

Donovan reaches milestone for US

CARSON, Calif. -- The US soccer team keeps on winning, even though the Americans are not impressing.

Despite a depleted defense and a tepid offense, the United States secured a berth in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup with a 2-0 victory yesterday over Trinidad and Tobago.

Brian Ching scored in the first half and Landon Donovan became the US career points leader when he fed Eddie Johnson for a second-half goal.

"I'm disappointed at the team," US coach Bob Bradley said. "We had good chances, and I think we had opportunities to score two more goals."

Ching scored his fifth international goal in the 29th minute off a long pass from Justin Mapp, and Johnson doubled the lead in the 54th, scoring his 10th goal for the United States and his first since Feb. 19, 2006. Donovan got his 25th assist to go along with 30 international goals, and with 85 points he moved one ahead of Eric Wynalda for the career lead.

"Landon is a versatile player. And every game is different," Bradley said. "And the ability to use him in different ways to ensure that we find him in good spots is important. That is a great thing from such a talented player and that's why he has such respect from everyone inside the team."

The United States improved to 6-0-1 since Bradley replaced Bruce Arena as coach and remained unbeaten in 21 group-play games in the Gold Cup, the championship of soccer's North and Central American and Caribbean region. The Americans are seeking their second straight Gold Cup title and a berth in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Kasey Keller played his 99th international game, one short of Tony Meola's record for US goalkeepers.

Keller often barked at the defense, which was missing some of its mainstays. While the Americans never appeared in danger of losing, they appeared flustered and unorganized late in the first half.

Trinidad, coming off its first World Cup appearance last year, lost to El Salvador in the opener and remained winless in the tournament since 2000.

The Americans, who finish the opening round Tuesday against El Salvador at Foxborough, Mass., used 10 different starters from Thursday's opening 1-0 win over Guatemala.