Just two games into their Olympic qualifying tournament for next summer's games in Rio de Janeiro, the United States under-23 men's national team has already reached farther than it did the last time around. Because after a 6-1 victory over Cuba on Saturday, following up on Thursday's 3-1 defeat of Canada, the Americans are already assured of a place in the semifinals – which will send two of four teams to Brazil – with a group game to spare.
For the Americans, the CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifying Championship, so grandly called, has been as simple this time around as it was fraught and frustrating back in 2012. Back then, the USA beat Cuba in the group stage as well but lost to Canada and allowed El Salvador to equalize in the 94th minute, meaning it never even reached the make-or-break semis.
But on Saturday, Cuba – poor Cuba – was simply unequipped to compete with their geopolitical rivals. As usual, there had been defections before the tournament had even begun. By the time thisRead More »from U.S. takes big step toward qualifying for Rio Olympics with 6-1 rout of Cuba