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Gyasi Zardes and Omar Gonzalez score as USMNT topple Cuba

Clint Dempsey scores hat trick, US advance to Gold Cup semis

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The US Men's National Team made short work of an overmatched Cuban squad missing four defected players, scoring twice inside 15 minutes as the US cruised past Cuba 6-0 Saturday afternoon in Baltimore.

The US only took four minutes to go ahead. Deep in Cuba's end, Gyasi Zardes dropped the ball to Timothy Chandler, and Chandler's lofted cross found Dempsey inside the box for a easy header past goalkeeper Diosvelis Guerra.

The US doubled the lead when Zardes latched onto a Fabian Johnson cross at the far post and placed a low shot past Guerra.

Though the Cubans started the match brightly, after conceding twice their confidence was shattered, as they spent most of the match in a defensive shell, unable to create any real offense. The US dominated the game, though a lack of focus at times resulted in plenty of wayward touches.

In the 32nd minute, the US scored a brilliant goal. From behind the halfway line, Michael Bradley sprayed a long ball over the Cuban defense to a streaking Aron Johannson, and with the keeper out, Johannson sublimely chipped over a stranded Guerra and into the net.

The US added a fourth before halftime. Michael Bradley swerved a corner kick that Aron Johannson nodded back into the box, and Omar Gonzalez beat a Cuban defender to the ball, scoring his first international goal.

With the rout on, the US took the foot off the pedal in the second half but continued to create plenty of chances. In the 63rd minute, Aron Johannsen was dragged down in the box, and Clint Dempsey made no mistake passing it into the center of the net.

Dempsey completed his hat trick in the 78th when he beat a Cuban defender to the back post and slid to finish past a beleaguered Guerra.

With the win, the USMNT advances to Wednesday's Gold Cup semifinal in Atlanta, where the US will battle the winner of Jamaica and Haiti.