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USA U-23's vs. Cuba: Final score 6-1, Strong first half leads to rout

2 wins in 2 games

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, the United States under-23 national team won its second group game of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament beating Cuba by a resounding 6-1 scoreline. The Americans dominated the entire match and it was never really a contest. The win clinches a spot for the U.S. in the all-important semifinals stage.

USA Lineup

What Happened

The United States got off to a quick start once again when Luis Gil stole the ball in the midfield in the first minute of play and found an open Jerome Kiesewetter in the box, but his first touch failed him and it ended up in the Cuban goalkeeper's hands.

Another chance to open the scoring fell to Jordan Morris in the 14th minute when a corner kick bounced to him at the far post, but it was just too high for him to get his head on. Much of the play in the first quarter of an hour happened in the USA's attacking end of the field.

That pressure would finally pay off as the youngest player on the team, Cameron Carter-Vickers headed home a Gil free kick from in front of the six-yard box to give the Americans a deserved lead.

Cuba would get their first chance of the game in the 28th minute off of a counter-attack. A long range shot was nicely palmed away by Zack Steffen.

The U.S. would double their lead eight minutes later. This time it would be the other American center back Matt Miazga with a expertly-placed header past the outstretched arms of Cuba's keeper.

Cuba were completely dejected after the second goal and it showed as they were hit for a third just minutes later. Some nice interchanging play in the midfield ended with a slotted pass to Morris in the box, instead of finishing he slid a smart pass to a wide open Kiesewetter for a tap-in. Basically game, set, and match after the third goal. All that remained was how bloated the scoreline would become.

Five minutes into the second half Kiesewetter would add another tap-in goal for the American's fourth. Morris again played provider as he played in Gil, his shot hit the keeper and rolled in front of goal for the Stuttgart man to finish easily.

The attacking onslaught would continue in the 69th minute when a beautiful combination play by Gil and Emerson Hyndman resulted in the latter in on goal. Hyndman's low drive past the keeper made it 5-0 to the Yanks.

Second half substitute Alonso Hernandez would tack on one more goal, while Cuba would ruin the cleansheet with a deflected goal over Steffen.

The game would end on a sour note as Marc Pelosi was stretchered off the field with an apparent leg injury.

Quick thoughts

  • It was Cuba. It's hard to learn much of anything other than the team did what it was supposed to do.
  • Miazga and Carter-Vickers are the future.
The U-23's finish up group play against Panama on Tuesday, October 6 at 9:30 p.m. ET.