[UNDER-17 CONCACAF CHAMPIONSHIP]The USA took a giant step toward returning to the Under-17 World Cup with a 5-0 win over Caribbean champion, Cuba on Tuesday in their opening Group A game at the Concacaf Under-17 championship in Tijuana, Mexico. John McInerney had two goals and two assists, while Luis Gil, the youngest player on the U.S. team, had a goal and two assists.
The Americans, who have played in every Under-17 World Cup since its launch in 1985, pounded the Cuban goal from the start of the game, and McInerney came close in the third minute when he hit the post. He hit the post a second time in the 31st minute, but Stefan Jerome knocked in the rebound.
By halftime, the USA led, 3-0, as it added goals by McInerney and Sebastian Lletget.
"At first we were a little hesitant, but as the game went on we took control and created opportunities," said U.S. coach Wilmer Cabrera. "We took advantage of the opportunities that we had. We were very focused on the game and we had several good training sessions. We had a good victory but we can't take anything away from Cuba, they were a great opponent and we must keep our heads in the game against Canada and Honduras."
The heat in Tijuana didn't bother the Americans. McInerney and Gil set each other up for goals early in the second half.
The USA finished with a 16-2 advantage in shots. Cuba had scored 29 goals in its six preliminary games but did not put a shot on target against the USA.
In the other Group A game, Honduras and Canada played to a 1-1 draw.
April 21 in Tijuana
USA 5 Cuba 0. Goals: Jerome 31, McInerney 34, 50, Lletget 40, Gil 63.
USA -- Edwards, Zavaleta, Polak, Kitchen, Watts, Shinsky (Martinez, 63), Duran, Gil, Lletget (Gyau, 69), McInerney, Jerome (Craven, 74).
Cuba --Cooper (Guerra, 45), Exposito, Cantero, Hernandez, Lahera, Portal, Marquez, Blanco (Pena, 76), Ortiz, Lemus, Soto.
Referee: Raymond Bogle (Jamaica).