The U.S. men's national team made a habit of playing close games in the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but there was no such trouble against overmatched Cuba in Saturday's quarterfinal bout.
Clint Dempsey netted his first career international hat trick, and the U.S. maintained control through during a 6-0 rout at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Americans will play Jamaica in the semifinals in Atlanta on July 22.
The U.S. got out to an early lead, with Dempsey netting in the fourth minute off a cross from Timmy Chandler. Dempsey rose up high in the box to meet the pass and made no mistake in tallying the 45th goal of his international career. Gyasi Zardes made it 2-0 in the 15th minute, with Fabian Johnson putting it on a platter for him to tap home at the doorstep.
Jurgen Klinsmann's side kept on the pressure as the half continued. Aron Johannsson made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute with a delicate chip over Cuba goalkeeper Diosvelis Guerra, who had raced off his line as Michael Bradley sent a long lob Johannsson's way. Bradley's corner kick at the end of the first half led to the USA's fourth, Johannsson meeting it to head back across goal, where Omar Gonzalez finished for his first international goal.
Dempsey added a second in the 64th minute from the penalty spot with a low chip, and he capped his hat trick in the 78th, finishing from close range with the outside of his foot off a feed from Bradley.
Dempsey now has 47 career international goals, 10 shy of Landon Donovan's USA record.
Here's how the rout unfolded:
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS: Ventura Alvarado (Club America), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers)
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Joe Corona (Veracruz), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Alan Gordon (LA Galaxy), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
GOALKEEPERS: Arael Arguellez (Cienfuegos), Diosvelis Guerra (Artemisa), Sandy Sanchez (Las Tunas)
DEFENDERS: Jorge Luis Clavelo (Villa Clara), Jorge Luis Corrales (Pinal Del Rio), Adrian Diz Pe (La Habana), Hanier Dranguet (Guantanamo), Angel Horta (Camaguey), Yasmany Lopez (Ciego De Avila), Yenier Marquez Molina (Villa Clara), Yaisnier Napoles (Camaguey), Andy Vaquero (La Habana)
MIDFIELDERS: Alain Cervantes (Ciego De Avila), Alberto Gomez (Guantanamo), Felix Guerra (Granma), Aricheel Hernandez (Villa Clara), Daniel Luis (La Habana), Ariel Martinez (F.C. Sancti Spiritus), Liban Dairon Perez (Camaguey), Dario Suarez (La Habana)
FORWARDS: Armando Coroneaux (Camaguey), Keiler Garcia (Camaguey), Maikel Reyes (Pinar Del Rio)