Saturday February 28th, 2015

The United States U-17 national team opened its World Cup qualification campaign with a resounding 5-0 win over Cuba on Friday night. 

Joe Gallardo, who plays at Mexican club Monterrey, scored a hat trick, while Borussia Dortmund youngster Christian Pulisic had two assists in a standout performance from midfield (including the sweet move below). 

The United States wasted no time getting on the board, as Huga Arellano headed a Pulisic corner kick into the back of the net in the fifth minute. Gallardo scored the first of his eventual trio of goals in the 40th minute via a tap-in off a Pulisic assist, and Alejandro Zendejas added the United States' third goal just a few minutes later, capitalizing on a defensive error by Cuba. 

The second half saw Gallardo score his second of the game on a shot from outside the box that bounced over Cuban goalkeeper Jesus Enrique Hernandez, then complete his hat trick with a scrappy finish in teh 88th minute. 

The result will leave the U.S. provisionally at the top of Group A in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship, which doubles as a qualifying tournament for this year's U-17 World Cup in Chile. The U.S. next faces off against Trinidad & Tobago on Monday at 6 p.m. ET. 


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