The United States was always going to beat Cuba. Thursday night, they got a chance against 10-man Cuba and they didn't just win; they demolished them. A 19th-minute red card doomed the Cubans as Joe Corona scored a hat trick, Juan Agudelo and Freddy Adu each picked up a goal and Cuba had an own goal in a 6-0 win for the Americans that kicked off qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.
Corona got the U.S. off to a bright start when he smartly chested down a ball that deflected to him and volleyed it home, but the red card is what changed things. Juan Agudelo was caught with an elbow just a couple minutes later and as soon as the referee brought out the red card, the match was over.
Brek Shea created the Americans' second goal when he got free down the left on a quick restart and crossed for a wide open Agudelo, who nodded the ball into the net. Corona added his second not too long after and just before halftime, Shea's run down the middle caused problems at the back for Cuba, who poked the ball into their own net.
The U.S. were up 4-0 at the half, but they were hardly done. They stayed on top of Cuba and it paid off when Adu hit a screamer that left the goalkeeper no chance for the 5-0 lead. Corona wasn't done, though, adding his third goal late to complete the hat trick and finish off a dominating performance against an overmatched Cuba side.
With the win, the Americans move to the top of Group A, two points clear of Canada and El Salvador, while Cuba is at the bottom on no points. All four teams will be back in action on Saturday for matchday two in Group A.