(Reuters) - The United States scored five second-half goals on the way to a 6-0 rout of Trinidad and Tobago in Ohio on Saturday to book their place in the Gold Cup quarter-finals.
The result, which also put Panama through to the next round, avenged a U.S. defeat in 2017 that saw them miss out on the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
After Aaron Long opened the scoring with a header in the 41st minute, Gyasi Zardes netted a double to make it 3-0 midway through the second period.
Christian Pulisic and Paul Arriola got in on the scoring act to make it 5-0 before Long completed the rout with his second of the game in the last minute.
“How can you be so good for 65 minutes, and then so awful for the last 25 minutes, which is a little bit of a surprise,” Trinidad and Tobago coach Dennis Lawrence said.
“That’s all mentality. We have to change the mentality. And we have to learn to stand up and fight.”
The United States, looking for back-to-back Gold Cup titles, face Panama in their last Group D match on Wednesday in Kansas City.
“Part of the scouting report was the faster we play, they’re going to tire out later in the game,” Long told The Plain Dealer. “And I think that was very true. Once we scored the second goal, it was like wildfire.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford