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Zardes’ two goals lead USMNT to 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago

The Americans earned a convincing victory in the second game of the Gold Cup

Soccer: CONCACAF Gold Cup-USA at Trinidad and Tobago David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

That’s more like it from the United States Men’s National Team

A second half goal onslaught powered Gregg Berhalter’s men to a 6-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in the American’s second match in Group D of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Americans were led by two goals from Columbus Crew SC forward Gyasi Zardes and a shutout from Black & Gold goalkeeper Zack Steffen.

The win moved the team to 2-0-0 in group play and assured that the Americans will make the knockout stage.

Trinidad and Tobago pressed for the opener early. In the ninth minute, Khaleem Hyland tested Steffen with a fierce shot from just inside the 18-yard box. The goalkeeper was forced to punch the ball away to keep the game scoreles.

The U.S. pressed forward as the half progressed. Christian Pulisic pulled wide of the penalty box and sent in a cross. Paul Arriola and Zardes crashed the box, but Arriola handled the ball before redirecting the ball wide of goal in the 14th minute.

The next chance fell to the Americans minutes later as Tyler Boyd received a pass from Tim Ream, took a touch to get clear and fired a shot from outside the 18-yard box. Trinidadian keeper Marvin Phillip held the shot.

The USMNT held possession for the next 15 minutes without testing Trinidad before finally creating a half chance in the 34th minute. Weston McKennie lofted a cross into the left side of the penalty area. Zardes headed the ball across for Arriola, but the close range shot was smothered to keep the game scoreless.

Trinidad and Tobago got a chance minutes later. Alvin Jones took a deep free kick into the American 18-yard box. The ball nearly connected with Daneil Cyrus’ head, but fell wide and ended the Trinidadian chance.

The U.S. had a free kick chance in the 41st minute after Alvin Jones pulled down Pulisic. The shot was blocked, but it allowed the Americans to stay in the attacking zone. The ball swung around to Pulisic on the left side and he drove a cross across the penalty box and found Aaron Long. The Red Bull defender pushed a header past Phillip and gave the Americans the lead in the 41st minute.

Trinidad and Tobago came out of the locker room pushing for an equalizer in the second half and got the first chance just minutes after the restart. Levi García took a pass from Kevan George and fired a shot that was blocked over the bar. The Americans cleared the corner kick danger.

The United States nearly doubled the lead through quick play and a timely McKennie switch. After getting a cushioned header from Zardes, the midfielder cut centrally and swung the ball out to Arriola. His 51st minute shot drifted wide.

The Americans continued to pressure and this time it was Boyd, cutting centrally, who uncorked a shot. His left-footed effort saw the ball drift just wide from 20 yards out.

Boyd continued to create danger in the second half. The Americans pushed forward on the left side and the midfielder performed a step-over and blasted a shot off his favored left foot to force a save and a corner. Trinidad cleared the danger to keep the difference to 1-0.

Trinidad and Tobago found a counterattack chance in the 60th minute with a long ball towards midfield and a big switch from Cordell Cato to García. The attacker pushed his shot from a tight angle high.

Again, the Trinidadians came closed to equalizing. Minnesota United attacker Kevin Molino took a pass from Neveal Hackshaw and uncorked a shot that Steffen pushed wide for a corner. The Americans cleared the danger.

The USMNT nearly doubled the lead on a furious scramble in front of goal. In transition, a late Trinidadian touch pushed the ball from Arriola’s path. His followup shot from a Pulisic cross was saved. The ball then swung wide to Jordan Morris. McKennie tried an overhead kick on the cross before Trinidad cleared the danger in the 64th minute.

The U.S. finally turned their possession into a second goal just two minutes later. Michael Bradley found Nick Lima with a line breaking pass. Zardes powered Lima’s cross home to finally give the Americans the cushion.

That goal opened the floodgates for the USMNT. The Trinidadian defense broke down as the U.S. repeatedly found space and capitalized. Pulisic took the ball in the left channel and dropped a pass to Zardes. He took a touch into the penalty box and fired into the corner to make the score 3-0.

Zardes nearly got his hat trick a minute later. He was sent in on goal, but his shot rang the post. His followup headed effort was saved. He got a third chance and send it high.

The Americans continued to pour it on after a defensive turnover. Morris took the ball into the penalty box and sent an easy cross to an unmarked Pulisic who coolly finished from inside six yards to make it 4-0 in the 73rd minute.

A quick fifth was added, again in quick transition. Morris sent in another cross from the right with the Trinidadian defense pulled apart. Arriola stabbed it home in the 78th minute. It was the fourth goal in 12 minutes for the Americans.

Arriola had a chance to add a sixth with an 85th minute shot after a McKennie feed. The effort rang the crossbar and allowed Trinidad to recover. The sixth goal did come just before the 90th minute. McKennie’s shot off a cross was parried over, but Long headed the ball in for the last goal of the game.

The Americans now head to Kansas City to face off against Panama on Wednesday to decide the winner of Group D. Both teams are 2-0-0 with the U.S. ahead on goal differential by six.