WASHINGTON – Santino Quaranta couldn’t have asked for a better setting to score his first goal with the U.S. national team.
Quaranta, making his first appearance for the United States in more than three years, broke a scoreless tie in the 75th minute before his D.C. United home fans at RFK Stadium to help the U.S. beat Honduras, 2-0.
Brian Ching, from Gonzaga and Houston Dynamo, followed Quaranta’s goal with a header four minutes later to seal the win.
“It’s hard to explain how special it is,” Quaranta said. “I was trying to tell myself all day just to enjoy it, but it was difficult.”
Quaranta publicly acknowledged he had battled drug and alcohol addictions the past few years before getting another chance in MLS last year. Now, his road to recovery has made it all the way to the national squad.
“To listen to the anthem was very emotional for me,” Quaranta said. “It’s been a fun, long road back.”
The United States, two-time defending champion in the competition among North and Central America and Caribbean nations, is 23-0-1 in Gold Cup group play.
The Americans are 2-0 and lead Group B going into their final first-round match against Haiti on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass., where a draw will be enough to clinch the group and move into the quarterfinals.
Quaranta took a short pass from Charlie Davies, who replaced Freddy Adu in the 64th minute, at the top of the penalty box and fired in his first goal for the national team.
“I looked to my left and saw Santino making a good run, so I was able to lay off a good ball for him,” Davies said. “He was just like, ‘Thanks.’ I think it was gratifying for him to score in front of the home crowd.”