Defending champions the United States advanced to the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-finals after routing Trinidad and Tobago 6-0 in Group D on Saturday.
USA infamously lost to Trinidad and Tobago in 2017 as they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but Gregg Berhalter’s men exacted some revenge against the Soca Warriors in Cleveland.
Aaron Long headed home a 41st-minute opener before a five-goal second half, with Gyasi Zardes’ quick-fire brace, and Christian Pulisic, Paul Arriola and the former leading to the USA to back-to-back wins following their 4-0 demolition of Guyana.
USA started the match with pace and purpose, but they were unable to create any real clear-cut chances in the first 30 minutes.
But after Khaleem Hyland’s warning shot for Trinidad and Tobago on the counter, Zardes’ header across the six-yard box almost picked out Arriola.
In control for much of an end-to-end opening half, New York Red Bulls defender Long did break the deadlock four minutes prior to the interval after being picked out by Pulisic’s teasing cross.
USA pushed forward and peppered the Trinidad and Tobago goal without success, while their opponents managed to keep Zack Steffen relatively busy in a high-octane second half.
After Marvin Phillip produced a stunning save to thwart Arriola from point-blank range, Zardes popped up to all but extinguish Trinidad and Tobago’s hopes in the 66th minute when he finished a simple tap in from Nick Lima’s cushioned header.
Zardes was at it again three minutes later after curling home his second thanks to Pulisic, who drifted past two defenders and slid in his team-mates, and the Columbus Crew forward nearly had his hat-trick but was denied by the woodwork and Philipp.
Trinidad and Tobago capitulated during the closing stages as Morris teed up Pulisic and Arriola to put an exclamation mark on the result, while Long added a sixth at the death.
What does it mean? USA into quarters
The United States’ title defence is firmly on track. With 10 goals in two games and back-to-back clean sheets, a second successive Gold Cup trophy does not look out of reach.
Chelsea-bound Pulisic dazzles
Pulisic showed by Chelsea splashed the cash to prise him away from Borussia Dortmund. The 20-year-old attacker was lively throughout, scoring a goal and setting up two others.
Soca Warriors lose their way
Trinidad and Tobago went toe-to-toe with USA up until the hour mark. After that point, they were put to the sword by a merciless opponent, who could have won by more.
USA close out their group-stage campaign against Panama in Kansas City on Wednesday, while Trinidad and Tobago face Guyana on the same day.