March 22, 2012
Hat trick leads U.S. to 6-0 Olympic Qualifying win
NASHVILLE---Joe Corona scored three goals as the United States U23 National Team rolled over man-down Cuba 6-0 in the first game of Olympic Qualifying at LP Stadium Thursday night.
|Joe Corona scored three goals to lead the U.S. to a 6-0 win over Cuba.
Photo by Michael Stephens
Corona, who plays for Tijuana club Xolos in the Mexican Primera Division, gave the United States an early lead, in the 10th minute. Freddy Adu sent a perfectly placed long free kick into the penalty area. Juan Agudelo challenged Cuba goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper, who punched the ball out. Corona took the ball off his chest then volleyed a right footed shot into the right side of the net.
Cuba went down a man in the 19th minute, when Dario Masias was shown a straight red card after he elbowed Agudelo in the face.
The United States, which was already slicing through the Cuba defense with ease, kept up the pressure, but it wasnít until the 37th minute that they broke through. FC Dallasís Brek Shea played a ball to Agudelo, who broke through the defense and sent a header into the net.
That pretty much opened the floodgates for the U.S., who scored two more goals before the half ended. Corona got his second goal in the 40th minute, putting a ball from Mix Diskerud into the lower right corner of the net.
Three minutes later, Shea broke into the area and sent a square ball across the mouth of the goal intended for Agudelo, but Cuban defender Arturo Diz Pe slid in front of the intended receiver and redirected the ball into the net.
Teal Bunbury had three excellent chances in the second half, but it was Philadelphia Union midfielder Freddy Adu who made it 5-0, sending a laser of a shot from the top of the penalty arc into the upper right corner of the net in the 62nd minute.
Corona added his third goal in the 87th minute, putting a ball from just inside the 18 into the lower left corner.
The United States faces Canada in the second game of qualifying on Saturday at 7:00 pm.