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US men earn win

CONCACAF Gold Cup Men: United States 6, Trinidad & Tobago 0

CLEVELAND — Gyasi Zardes scored two goals in a three-minute span in the second half and the U.S. men’s soccer team earned a small sample of revenge with a 6-0 blowout in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Saturday night over Trinidad and Tobago, which handed the Americans a nightmarish loss two years ago.

Aaron Long scored his first two international goals, and Christian Pulisic and Paul Arriola had one each during a five-goal barrage in the second half. The U.S. cruised to its second shutout this week and clinched a quarterfinal berth in Philadelphia on June 30.

It was the first matchup between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago since Oct. 10, 2017, when the Americans, needing only a tie to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, lost 2-1 to the Soca Warriors.

The embarrassing defeat snapped a streak of seven straight World Cup appearances by the Americans and triggered a top-to-bottom overhaul of the men’s program, which has operated in the imposing shadow of the powerful U.S. women, seeking their fourth world title in France.

There would be no repeat performance by this revamped U.S. team. The Americans posted their most lopsided win since beating Honduras 6-0 in a World Cup qualifier on March 24, 2017, when Pulisic also scored and had a pair of assists.

With the U.S. leading 1-0 on Long’s goal in the 41st minute, Zardes scored from right in front shortly after U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen made a diving save to stop Trinidad from tying a match the Americans dominated.

Michael Bradley chipped the ball from the left side to a charging Nick Lima, who headed the ball to Zardes in front. The American striker only had to guide it by Trinidad keeper Marvin Phillip in the 65th minute. Two minutes later, Zardes buried a hard shot from the left side for his 10th international goal and second two-goal game for the Americans.

Zardes nearly completed a hat trick, but his low shot from up top in the 70th minute hit the left upright.

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