ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - By even the very high standards of coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Landon Donovan is regaining top form after taking a break from the national team.
Donovan scored two goals and set up another on Wednesday night, helping the United States beat Honduras 3-1 to advance to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final.
Klinsmann said the performance was "wonderful to watch."
"I have told him in our conversations that 'I measure you. Your benchmark is the best Landon Donovan ever,'" Klinsmann said. "I'm not taking anything less than that. And he is trying to catch up with that. Give him more games. Give him time."
The Americans will play Panama, a 2-1 winner over Mexico in the second semifinal, on Sunday in Chicago. The U.S. has won a team-record 10 straight games.
While Klinsmann has declined to confirm that Donovan will be rejoining the World Cup qualifying team later this year, the top goal scorer in U.S. history is leaving little doubt that he belongs.
Donovan has five goals in the tournament, tying him with teammate Chris Wondolowski for most in the Gold Cup. Donovan has set up seven goals, including four in the last two games.
Entering the game, he was the only U.S. player to play every minute of the tournament. He finally was subbed out in the 72nd minute, having earned a rest.
"It's the most relaxed I've felt," Donovan said. "I feel good, and I'm really enjoying it."
The U.S. struck first when Donovan found Eddie Johnson running through the middle of the Honduran defense. Johnson took a dribble and powered a shot past goalkeeper Donis Escober, giving the U.S. a lead 11 minutes into the game.
In the 27th minute, Johnson started another scoring sequence with a pass to midfielder Alejandro Bedoya. Donovan received Bedoya's short chip off his chest in the middle of the goal box and poked a shot past Escober.
"The first 30 minutes was brilliant football. Brilliant, high pressure, high tempo," Klinsmann said. "We wanted to move the football around and create chances, and that's what we did."
Nery Medina of Honduras made it a one-goal game in the 52nd minute, heading in a cross from Marvin Chavez. The Americans countered a minute later when Bedoya ran down a long ball from Clarence Goodson and crossed it to Donovan, who scored from a few yards out.
"In the end, the U.S. was able to beat us in every aspect of the game," Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez said.
After the game, it was uncertain whether Klinsmann would be suspended for the final after being ejected in the 87th minute for slamming a ball into the ground. A CONCACAF official said the referee would file a report with CONCACAF's disciplinary committee, which will announce a decision in the next day or two.
Klinsmann said he was reacting to a number of hard fouls over the game's final 30 minutes.
"It was a reaction out of frustration," he said. "It was not meant against the referee, against anybody. It was just frustration. I apologize for that."
Anatoly Kucherena's comments came after the lawyer met with Snowden in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport amid Russian news reports that Snowden was about to receive documents that would allow him to leave the airport where he's apparently been marooned for more than a month.
Some Russian news agencies cited unidentified sources as saying Kucherena would deliver the documents to Snowden, but the lawyer later said there was no such paperwork. Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia.
In a meeting with human rights activists two weeks ago, Snowden reportedly said he eventually wanted to visit Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, all of which have offered him asylum. But Kucherena cast doubt on those intentions after Wednesday's meeting.
"Russia is his final destination for now. He doesn't look further into the future than that," Kucherena said on state television.
The lawyer said that Snowden is staying in the transit zone "for now" and "intends to stay in Russia, study Russian culture."
The American applied for temporary asylum in Russia last week after his attempts to leave the airport and fly out of Russia were thwarted. The United States wants him sent home to face prosecution for espionage.
Snowden, who revealed details of the NSA's wide-ranging spying activities targeting data and phone communication, is believed to have been staying at the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport since June 23, when he arrived on a flight from Hong Kong.
Kucherena told journalists that he has brought fresh clothes for Snowden along with several books for the American to read, including one by Anton Chekhov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel "Crime and Punishment."
The novel is about the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of a poor ex-student who kills a pawnbroker for her cash, and Kucherena said Snowden might find it interesting. But the lawyer told Rossiya-24: "I'm not implying he's going through a similar mental anguish."
President Vladimir Putin has said that Snowden can be granted asylum in Russia only if he stops leaking NSA secrets.
A spokeswoman for Russia's Federal Migration Service told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it had no information about the status of Snowden's application for asylum.
Granting Snowden asylum would add new tensions to U.S.-Russian relations already strained by Washington's criticism of Russia's pressure on opposition groups, Moscow's suspicion of U.S. missile-defense plans in Europe, and Russia's resistance to proposed sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.