USA U-23s rout Cuba in Olympic qualifying opener


photo by Hunter Dorton/


The U.S. Under-23 men's national team is one of the favorites to qualify for this summer's Olympics, and it lived up to its reputation by starting Olympic qualifying in emphatic fashion.

Led by three goals from midfielder Joe Corona, the United States cruised to a 6-0 victory in its Group A opener against 10-man Cuba at LP Field in Nasvhille, Tenn. on Thursday night. Freddy Adu, Juan Agudelo and an own goal by Arturo Diz Pe made up the other three tallies for Caleb Porter's side.

Cuba was forced to play down a man for most of the game after Jose Macias was shown a red card in the 20th minute for hitting Juan Agudelo in the face with his elbow.

That ejection came after Corona opened the scoring in the 11th minute. After a free kick was sent into the penalty area by Mix Diskerud, Cuban goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper punched the ball straight into the path of Corona, who chested the ball and hit a sublime volley into the net in one fluid motion.

The U.S. team, which failed to start the match sharply, doubled their lead eight minutes before halftime when Brek Shea sent in a beautiful cross from the left flank to an unmarked Agudelo. The New York Red Bulls striker raced onto the ball and thundered it home with his head.

Rarely troubled on defense, the Americans got on the scoresheet twice more before halftime. Diskerud, who was heavily involved in the United States' attack all night, set up Corona's second goal in the 40th. Three minutes later, a low cross from Shea intended for Agudelo was knocked over the goal line by Diz Pe.

The goals kept coming in the second half. Adu, the U.S. captain, received a pass from centerback Ike Opara and netted on a blast from outside the penalty area, and Corona capped the scoring and sealed his hattrick with a low finish off a feed from Diskerud.

The United States is currently atop Group A with three points. In the first match of the group's doubleheader at LP Field, Canada played to a scoreless draw with El Salvador.

The Americans return to the field on Saturday to take on Canada.


What do you think of the U.S. U-23s 6-0 win? Who impressed you? Which goal did you like the most?

Share your thoughts below.

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72 Responses to USA U-23s rout Cuba in Olympic qualifying opener

  1. Jonathan S says:

    TIL-Mix Diskerud has a GREAT first touch. Dudes a baller

  2. Pete Wilson says:

    everyone looked good. as a Union fan/ rest purposes i’d like to see Sheanon get burn. Swagudelo and Boyd probably finish all the looks that Bunbury got tnite. Gyau’s CRAZY fast! and the sky is blue. had to toss in one more obvious fact.

  3. AMH says:

    Completely agree. Mixx was most impressive by far. Overall I liked seeing our attacking players connecting so well together and unselfishly at that. Nothing looked forced and the build-up was superb (albeit against a lesser opponent). If they continue to develop the way they are now we are going to be making a lot of noise in Russia in 2018.

  4. Mix was good tonight, so was Adu. Glad Porter was able to rest some legs for Saturday’s match against Canada. After watching the first game between El Salvador and Canada, the US should cruise. I’m interested in how group B will play out. That is the much tougher group for sure. So the US will have a tougher team to play in the semi’s.

  5. wilyboy says:

    Stunning. It’s not often that I wish an opponent would get one on frame just so Hamid could get the freak saves rolling.

    Mix was #1, and Freddy is back, but singling out anyone as a weakness really isn’t possible for this game. Miss hit passes were almost due to boredom. Bring on Canada!

    Oh yeah, and Corona scored a hattrick. As a footnote.

  6. GSScasual says:

    was that barcelona playing with USNT tops on tonight?

  7. JGD says:

    Gyau is fast. Very fast.

  8. Hush says:

    Gyau is superior to Shea. In every aspect of the game. I would like to see Shea on the bench and Gyau the Tornado on the left instead. Gyau is more comfortable on the ball and much more of an attacker. He presses brilliantly. Definitely don’t have to defend much when you have a Gyau on your team. Too many teams will have to fall a bit back on the left. The kid is beast.

    Adu is pretty much the same… A beast. I have always said he is our best technical player. The only cat that knows what to do with the ball before he gets it. He never disappoints me. My dawg. Too bad I can’t remember the Adu haters on this board.

    Corona had a great game too.

    Mix is very solid.

    Kitchen doesn’t convince me. He gets too nervous with the ball. I think Bob would be very proud of him in regards to his field goals from the back.

  9. B from md says:

    Not to take anything from mixx in this game he was phenomenal but it was Freddy that sent the ball into the box on that first goal not mixx

  10. Kojo says:

    The unforced errors out of the back is troublesome. Especially from Opara. I was astonished at his poor touch and sloppy passes. He looks good on one on one defending however his passing needs to improve especially when he plays a better quality opponent. Other critique is the lack of movement off the ball. The last goal showed how fluid this team can be when they are making runs off the ball. Diskerud looked good and surprisingly strong play from Okugo when he came on in the second half. Okugo repeatedly showed for the ball helping to keep possession and play the short ball on the ground.

  11. wilyboy says:

    A zealous own goal was the only reason this “inferior” player didn’t get 2 assists. Plural.

  12. Trent Hill says:

    Unforced errors at the back were worrying, definitely. It was always going to be the defense that looked suspect.

    With that said–the offensive production was stellar. I think Mix was man of the match, but one could easily make the argument for Corona (and his hat trick) or Adu, who always seems to weight the pass perfectly.

  13. b says:

    Why do people insist on adding a second X to Mix?
    Mix is a simple word that is easy to spell. Mixx is nothing.

  14. PanchoMiguelMorales de conejo says:

    This has been a recurring concern from the u23s, but the quality of opponents have not punished them. Thought Valentine looked uncomfortable as Sarkodie who Id like to see benched. Doubt Canada or El Salvador put up much more of a challenge.

  15. Marlon says:

    Jesus guy, did you seriously copy paste your stupid post just to have it here as well?

  16. sandtrout says:

    You kidding? The way he played tonight, I’m calling him Mixxx!

  17. Mex/GermanATeam says:

    Club Tijuana has pics on its website of Joe Corona from tonight…stars & stripes on the webpage of a FMF team.

  18. Scooter says:

    Shea was beyond bored, and he still dominated. Gyau is excellent, and certainly one of our top players, but he isn’t better than shea.

  19. Ricky B. Free says:

    Lol You seriously think Shea is better than Gyau? Stop drinking the koolaid. I like Shea but his ceiling isnt as high as Gyau`s

  20. cajun says:

    If you all want to get technical it’s Mikkel Morgenstar PÃ¥lssønn Diskerud with “Mix” “Mixxxxxxx” being a nickname ;^)

  21. Chuck says:

    Usually we see these scores after half the cuban squad defected, between the 2nd and third game. The US is going to walk over anybody.

  22. john says:

    I’m not sure what game you watched that lead you to believe Shea “dominated.”

    He might’ve beat his man off the dribble twice all game and put decent service into the box when he found space on the wing but he wasn’t really impressive by any measure.

    Gyau was very good and is a player I would like to see get a start. He’s got quick feet and was able to beat multiple players off the dribble and take advantage of combination play that opened up the Cuban’s already unstable defense.

  23. abc says:

    Yes Gyau has a high ceiling.

    But right now, at the U-23 level, Shea is a man among boys, and has shown it consistently throughout their camps, scrimmages, and games.

  24. Yoreau Snaub says:

    The ref gave that Cuban guy a Red Card, but it sure looked Green to him…

  25. AG says:

    I’d like to see Diskerud and Corona play with the full team in one of the upcoming friendlies. That team could do well.

  26. M says:

    They all looked great against Cuba. I was mad at the Cuba player for getting an early Red which only made the game more lopsided.

    Considering their age 19 Agudelo and Gyau are quite impressive. Too bad Gil is not with this group

  27. Marlon says:

    I don’t know how anybody on the SBI Joe Gyau Love Parade could be accusing somebody else of drinking the koolaid.

  28. Doctor Detroit says:

    Don’t get crazy based on one game against a BAD Cuba team. Both are promising young players but neither should be with the full USMNT through the early stages of qualifying. Let them develop first. Neither are as good as the players currently occupying their spots on the full team.

  29. predicto says:

    Although he’s a great attacker, I don’t really like how Shea fits with this team. He seems to slow things down, holds the ball, makes those uncontrolled flicks.

    When he’s not in there, they are one touch, move to goal, a faster attacking team.

  30. predicto says:

    And …El Salvador looks to be the toughest competition in this group. They play like Mexico – fast, skilled, one touch, and surprising good defense. The game on Monday should be the best – probably determine the group winner.

  31. predicto says:

    Agree – I like their attacking, one-touch style. Something really lacking in the full team. But would that fit into the klinsman way? Dunno, but I’d like to see it too. In Diskerud’s full team game vs SA, I thought he was great.

  32. Tyler says:

    Are any videos of highlights available yet? I wasn’t able to watch the match live.

  33. First time I have seen Joe Gyau play. He has the potential to be world class.

  34. CRK says:

    Lots of positive talk about Mix and Gyau. Makes sense since both had many good moments, but did anybody else notice that neither one of these two was willing to use his left foot? They both stabbed at the ball with the outside of their right so often that it made me wonder if they both had left ankle injuries…

  35. People are now more aware on football game. This is because this game is more visible on television nowadays. People are getting crazy watching this.

  36. ACW says:

    Adu, Shea, and Agudelo all impressed. But what in the past could be written off as poor decision making seems to more pathological for Shea: he has no right foot. Hard to see him playing in Europe.

  37. Una says:

    calm down they beat weak team playing against 10 Cuban kids nothing to cheer about.I want to seen them play well against Mexico or Honduras and score 3 goals.

  38. Annelid Gustator says:

    Agudelo and Shea are physical beasts. Gyau is magnificently fast. Holy cow has he got wheels. Play more, dude! Please, god, let Joe Gyau get more time with his club.

  39. Charlie G. says:

    I keep thinking that Porter needs to find a way to have both Shea and Gyau on the field at the same time. Not a bad problem to have, and one that may face Klinsman in the future. My crazy side says I would love to try Shea as a forward paired with Jozy, with Gyau on the wing sometime in the future in those 4-4-2 times.

    What’s with the lack of crowd in Nashville ? Doesn’t seem to make sense to put this competition in a 70,000 seat stadium – a bit embarassing to see such an apparently small crowd.

  40. Angel of LA says:

    I think Porter will change the Lineup for Canada. I can see Porter using this






    I think he will do some changes cause the games are only 2 days apart and not too much rest. But if they past to the second round (semi-final and the final) he will have a strong team, I think he will used the more experience, strong and technical players.

  41. Ed says:

    Frustratingly goal kick space!

  42. The Imperative Voice says:

    If we didn’t have a game every other day Gyau would be a starter.

    I also think that Gyau’s speed is a trait that is more easily transferable to good senior play than Shea being fairly technical and swashbuckling. I see a lot of Early Dempsey in Shea and it took Dempsey a few years to develop a full game, shooting prowess, and work ethic that made him what he is today. At first he was viewed as, as much of a “dancer” as Shea can be reputed these days.

    The defense is obviously the weak spot, Opara was the only one I was impressed by, although I think we can reinforce that with Chandler and overagers should we qualify.

    But big picture this all boils down to the semi next week. It will be either Mexico or Honduras and they will be of another order compared to our group.

  43. Tyler says:

    My only complain about the game was the giant, cavernous stadium they used and all the empty seats. Hard to imagine there was much of an atmosphere there at all last night.

  44. Doctor Detroit says:

    The idea of someone here thinking they know what is better for the team than Caleb Porter does is downright laughable.

  45. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think Gyau’s speed makes him the most useful potential senior commodity of the bunch, him and Hamid. Both of them could basically take their game straight to the senior team and be useful. I think Gyau would be starting if we didn’t have to play 5 games in a short period.

    I see lots of potential in Shea and Agudelo but they have already had senior chances and their senior production is modest. Both have an element of Early Dempsey to their games, where they could use a little more sharpness and work ethic to supplement the swashbuckling. Obviously they contributed last night plenty, I’m just weighing in on my side of the Gyau/Shea debate. I think speed scales up to senior impact easier…..

    I expected more stuff from Cuba since this might have been the defectors’ game tape, but the red altered the tactical landscape.

    I still see the defense as the potential stumbling block, I liked Opara but the rest could be pretty shaky for 6-0. But the reality there is we have the offense to qualify it’s just a matter of winning one semi, the rest of this is practice.

  46. The Imperative Voice says:

    In terms of scalability the reverse of Gyau is Adu. People talk him up after these YNT performances but the problem is he has no exceptional quality that scales up to senior success. He’s fairly finesse but not like Shea or Agudelo or Mix slick, he’s not fast like Gyau, not tall like Shea, not a sniper like Corona…..

  47. beachbum says:

    that is cool :)))

  48. beachbum says:

    agree 100%

  49. Vic says:

    Great skill once again from the U-23s. One thing I don’t understand about Klinnsmann. He says he wants players that when they get the ball they already know what to do with it. He says he likes the S. American style. USA has mostly athletic players but we have skilled players too. If Klinnsmann wants to play with more skill, put in more skilled players. Otherwise say you want to play an athletic counterattack game.

  50. Charlie G. says:

    Geez, so serious. Let’s have some fun !!!!!

  51. Jeff B says:

    The Spanish announcers were pronouncing Brek Shea as Brek She-a. Cracked me up. And oh yea, Gyau and Mix are the future

  52. brian I says:

    I agree with the first post but concerning Adu I disagree, “He’s fairly finesse but not like Shea or Agudelo or Mix slick” I agree Mix is slick and smooth but unless I’m reading this wrong, Shea and Agudelo more finesse than Adu?? Freddy has more skill and finesse than those two combined and I’m a fan of both and their potential. Freddy has proven he has the skill to play at the highest level (and we’ve seen this internationally) it’s the other things he lacks, physical size and speed. If he has the whole work ethic problem/rumor behind him then I think it’s just a matter of finding a team willing to commit to him being a focal point in their attack.

  53. Charlie G. says:

    US Soccer reported attendance of 4,269 !

    Apparently, Nashville is not an appropriate site for a match of this type.

  54. brian I says:

    Also I agree that Gyau is a better player than Shea now and in the future in my opinion. That’s not trashing Shea, just how high my opinion has been of Gyau since I saw him in those Nike friendlies like 4 years ago.

  55. brian I says:

    Well I think the problem is right now the technical players we have ready for the senior team aren’t good enough to play that style against better teams yet…I really think this U-23 generation is when we will start to see a skilled technical style being implemented into our senior team more effectively. These players have the old american athletic ability and hard work mixed in with good technique…the next two world cups will be interesting to see how or if we can transition.

  56. Tyler says:

    That’s not bad for a non-senior team in a non-MLS city. Though, again, 4k fans would look better in a cozy SSS as opposed to a giant NFL stadium. Or, hell, on a smaller college campus for that matter.

  57. The Imperative Voice says:

    Yeah I watched the MunDos telecast, not sure I have Universal, and the “Shia” issues were cracking my watch group up. Right up there with “Gee-off-ree Scott Cam-er-run,” in recent times.

  58. beachbum says:

    very good post brian! spot on

  59. beachbum says:

    no sh!t! looked ridiculous in that stadium playing in front of the crickets

  60. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think Shea has plenty of upside too it’s just he will have to grow from Early Dempsey to Present Dempsey to manifest it. Shea shows flashes but is not a 90 minute motor guy yet that I think should really start. To get there he needs to incorporate Dempsey’s underrated off-ball running as well as maybe get a little more ruthlessly accurate a finisher. Cause right now Shea is like Dempsey used to be, gets the ball on the wing, dances a little, maybe crosses maybe slashes.

  61. hush says:

    Dude, you are just as annoying as the guys over at MLB… relax and move on troll.

    Maje lucresio

  62. hush says:

    One game?lol.. you must not be following the Sub-23 team.

  63. Vic says:

    I don’t agree, I think some of our technical players like Feilhaber and Adu have enough skill but they don’t train or hustle as well so he calls players like Klesjtan, Edu and Shea instead.

  64. jlm says:

    that is the Klinsmann way. He is the one behind everything. it’s just that the senior team doesn’t have the players to play that way at the moment. that is why this team is so fun to watch and think about in the future.

  65. jlm says:

    i don’t see him playing with two defensive mids. i think two attacking mids is crucial to the fluidity of the attack

  66. jlm says:

    but i guess mix would just be pushed forward, so nevermind. good call

  67. AG says:

    It couldn’t hurt to try them out in a FRIENDLY. Either way based on their recent quality play and production, I wouldn’t’ be surprised if one or maybe both got capped in the first WCQ game.

  68. AG says:

    The same eleven will likely start in an effort to advance first, rest later.

  69. Sam says:

    It wasn’t the best crowd. Who was there was on the end and on the camera side, so it probably looked worse on tv.

    Nashville has been a solid site for the senior team in the past. Last year they had around 30K, around the same for T&T in WC qualifying, and even back in 2006 against Morocco.

    Don’t judge the city on this game, or even this qualifying tournament, which is more for hardcore fans. Best place in the South for the US team to play.

  70. bryan says:

    troll. this already happened.

  71. Chuck says:

    LOL good chance to run away -I’m, red-carded, so I furiously go to the showers- *escapes through the parking lot*