Friday, March 23, 2012

USA U-23s Take Down Cuba in Olympic Qualifying

It might as well have been a scrimmage for the young Americans as they put on a clinic in their Olympic qualifying opener. The US U-23 roster is stacked with talent led by Caleb Porter and with all that talent comes high expectations. The young men met those expectations and then some by cruising to a 6-0 victory over Cuba in the Group A opener.

On the night, Freddy Adu, Joe Corona and Mix Diskerud were especially active in the attack. Scoring was opened in the 11th minute when a free kick into the Cuban box was punched away to an oncoming Corona who did well to chest it down and volley it perfectly into the back of the net. From there it seemed a simple downhill stroll for the US.

Cuba was reduced to ten men early in the match when Jose Macias was given a straight red in the 20th minute for an elbow to Juan Agudelo's face. The red card crippled the Cubans who were already clearly outgunned, but the extra space gave the Americans more freedom to attack. Cuban goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper played well on the night but was simply overwhelmed with the tenacity of the American attack and the flaccid defense laid out in front of him.

The Cubans rarely troubled the Americans and by halftime, the US U-23s were up by an emphatic score of 4-0. Goals continued to rain in the second half, when Freddy Adu continued his sublime performance. Adu, captaining his side, unleashed a wicked shot from distance that found the back of the net, prompting the pro-American crowd to chant "Freddy, Freddy!"

Joe Corona netted  twice more on the night to complete a hat trick and the United States found themselves on the kind end of a 6-0 shut out victory. Caleb Porter seemed pleased with the win, but was still critical of what he thought were some key issues that the team must resolve moving forward.

Currently the US sits atop Group A with three points and will return to the field Saturday when they take on Canada.

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