Easy Olympic Qualifying Opener

Coming in as the favorite, the United States came in confident and should have been more energized after watching Canada and El Salvador play to a scoreless tie before they took the pitch against Cuba.  The starting line up boasted a formidable offensive attack with Brek Shea, Juan Agudelo, and Freddy Adu up front.  Mix Diskerud and Joe Corona were providing the help. The hope was for the U.S. to keep the pressure on the entire game. 

However, early on that was not the case as Diskerud gave up the ball leading to a Cuba counter that was snuffed out by Perry Kitchen.   It would not be long until possession was at the feet of the United States with a few attempted long balls.  Two corners were won in the first ten minutes, but they were not overly threatening.  Quickly after the corners a lose free kick from Adu was easily deposited by Corona for the breakthrough.  The philosophy of coach Caleb Porter took about eight minutes to shine through and the U.S. was on its way.

Feb 29, 2012; Frisco, TX, USA; United States midfielder Joe Corona (10 ) dribbles against Mexico at FC Dallas Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

As the possession continued Macias was called for a red card with an elbow to Agudelo that seemed to come after some conflict between the two.  With Cuba down to ten men for the last 70 minutes it was time to capitalize.  A quick restart from Shea turned into the second goal for the U.S. off of Agudelo.  Almost without blinking, Corona deposited his second of the night off a beautiful feed from Diskerud.  A Shea cross turned into an own goal to make it 4-0 at halftime for the U.S.  The front five were working well together and Kitchen played well the few times Cuba got possession.

The game was in the United States’ control but the red card put it away.  This would allow Porter to bring in substitutes early and get more playing time for more on the squad.  However, it puts more stress on focusing on the next game rather than improving on the faults.  There was still more football to play, but it was just a formality.

Teal Bunbury would sub in for Agudelo and immediately get a chance off a beautiful pass from Adu.  Joe Gyau, the second youngest player on the team, would also come in as a substitute before the 60th minute for Brek Shea.  Adu would hit a laser from 25 to make it 5-0 United State just before the last substitute was used to bring in Amobi Akugo for Jared Jeffrey. The Adu tally put an exclamation point on his controlling play.

Time ran down with more control by the U.S. and Corona finished his hat trick off another splendid pass from Diskerud.  That combination was stellar all match long.  This was the most lopsided win for the U-23 USMNT since July 20, 1991 when they beat Panama 7-0.   They will now play Canada on Saturday and hope to keep the momentum going.

Topics: 2012 Olympics, Agudelo, Brek Shea, London Olympics, Soccer, USMNT

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