Corona scores 3 goals as US beats Cuba 6-0

TERESA M. WALKER AP Sports Writer Published:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Joe Corona scored three goals and the United States beat Cuba 6-0 Thursday night in the Americans' opening game of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.

Juan Agudelo and Freddy Adu also had a goal apiece, and the U.S. Under-23 team also got an own goal from Cuba to lead 4-0 at 4-0 halftime.

The Americans will play Canada on Saturday night in the second of three games in the Group A round-robin tournament at LP Field, home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

El Salvador and Canada tied 0-0 in the first game Thursday night. The top two teams advance to the semifinal March 31 in Kansas City, Kan.

The win was the U.S. Under-23 team's biggest margin of victory since beating Panama 7-0 on July 20, 1991.

U.S. coach Caleb Porter promised an aggressive, attacking style, and the Americans got one early -- in the 11th minute after missing on three corner kicks just before. Adu had a free kick into the area, and Odisnel Cooper came out for Cuba, helping knock it in the air. Corona used his chest to deflect the ball and right-footed it in from 11 yards out.

Cuba's Dairo Macias was sent off in the 19th minute after his right elbow caught Agudelo in the mouth, dropping the American to the turf. He will miss Cuba's game Saturday against El Salvador.

The Americans had plenty of chances in the first half. Brek Shea passed up a shot, passing instead to a teammate, who sent it wide. Corona missed on a header off a cross from Adu.

They didn't miss when Shea found Agudelo open from point-blank range for a header past Cooper in the 37th minute, and Corona made it 3-0 in the 40th off a volley from Mix Diskerud from 12 yards out. Shea tried to find Agudelo again in front of the net, but his pass went off Arturo Diz Pe for an own goal in the 43rd minute putting the U.S. up 4-0.

In the second half, the Americans seemed to ease up a bit as Agudelo and Shea went to the bench early. They still managed to add a couple more goals even with plenty of passing.

Adu just missed over the crossbar on a kick in the second half, but he scored his fifth career goal in the 62nd minute off his left foot from 25 yards out. It was his second career goal against Cuba. Corona added his third of the game in the 88th minute, kicking it past the keeper into the left corner of the goal.