The US Olympic team passed their first qualifying test with flying colors on Thursday night, thoroughly controlling matters in a 6-0 rout of 10-man Cuba.
Lit by the first of three Joe Corona strikes and a red card to the visitors inside the opening 20 minutes, the Junior Nats attack took off and didn't return to Earth until the final whistle.
Bill Hamid (6) - The netminder didn't have a great deal to do, but he effectively made his presence felt when necessary.
Kofi Sarkodie (6) - Though a bit timid moving forward, the right back generally handled his corridor up to midfield.
Ike Opara (6.5) - Unless a striker has an advantageous starting point against Opara, there’s no way he’s getting beat … and even that’s no guarantee.
Perry Kitchen (5.5) - Though mostly a calm presence, the D.C. United handyman did have a couple of potentially harmful hiccups in dangerous areas.
Zarek Valentin (6) - Like Sarkodie, the Montreal Impact defender didn't raid the other end and Valentin also had a couple of issues with the ball on the night. Still, the largest portion of his shift was spent effectively shipping wingers down the left flank.
Jared Jeffrey (6) - Apart from one bad turnover in front of the US box, the Mainz 05 midfield prospect ably directed traffic.
Mikkel Diskerud (7.5) - Smooth and incisive in the run of play, Mix again showed playmaking calm in the area. On the down side, his corner kicks needed some air.
Joe Corona (8.5) - Exemplary linking in the build, the Tijuana sparkplug stole the show by bagging a well-taken hat trick. It's great to see an attacker that pops up in the right place not wanting to hit every shot full blast.
Freddy Adu (7.5) - Tourney duty for the US generally brings out the best in "Freddinho." His goal was just nasty and his unnerving free kick helped set up the opener.
Brek Shea (7) - The Cuban defenders had to be grimacing every time he was led down the wing. His crossing game also finally caught up to his legs; his paint brush cross for Juan Agudelo's goal was picture-perfect.
Juan Agudelo (7) - It was only a half, but the Red Bulls prodigy gave the visitors fits: 45 minutes of running and tussling, not to mention a deadeye finish.
Manager: Caleb Porter (9) - The lower degree of difficulty limits how high this grade can go, but there won't be any complaining. The boss wanted goals and got them. Frankly, the team's runaway evening may have come off even if had Cuba stayed at 11 men – their routing past the 19th-minute red card looked a mere extension of what came before it. In game one of a key tourney, you can't ask for more.
Teal Bunbury (5.5) - The Sporting KC forward seemed just a half-step off rhythm, but the effort was definitely there.
Jospeh Gyau (6.5) - Cuba's reward for being run ragged by Shea? More of the same, really.
Amobi Okugo (6) - Two words: vacuum on.