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Do the U.S. and Mexico care about the Gold Cup anymore?

Gold Cup
 By Jason Davis

Clint Dempsey, Alejandro Bedoya star as the United States thumps Cuba

The United States rolled into the semifinals of the Gold Cup on Saturday afternoon with a dominant display against a hopelessly overmatched Cuban side in Baltimore. Clint Dempsey was the star of the show with a hat trick, but three other Americans also got on the scoresheet.

The U.S. controlled the game throughout, using the flanks to build attack after attack. Defensively, there was little for the backline to worry about. The display not only delivered high marks across the board for Jurgen Klinsmann's team, but it will serve to boost their confidence as they move onto the final four of the tournament.

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Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Brad Guzan, 8 -- Spent 90 minutes mostly untroubled as the Cubans had just one shot on target.

DF Timothy Chandler, 7.5 -- Chandler's first good performance in the tournament. Had little to do defensively and created the Americans' opening goal with an accurate left-footed cross to Clint Dempsey.

DF Omar Gonzalez, 7.5 -- Spent most of his day on the ball rather than defending. Handled himself well with no major mistakes and contributed to the blowout scoreline by cleaning up on a corner kick.

DF Ventura Alvarado, 6.5 -- Far from a bad day for the young center-back, though he was the weaker of the pair by a reasonable margin. On a dominant day for the U.S., his minor gaffes stood out a little more than they might otherwise.

DF Fabian Johnson, 8 -- Another excellent day for the versatile Johnson. Worked well with Alejandro Bedoya in front of him on the left, and played a perfect ball to Gyasi Zardes for the second U.S. goal.

MF Gyasi Zardes, 7.5 -- Put the ball in the net and was generally dangerous up and down the right flank. Contributed defensively as well.

MF Kyle Beckerman, 7.5 -- The usual steady show from Beckerman. Kept possession with his usual ease and allowed Bradley to roam freely into space to key the attack.

MF Michael Bradley, 8 -- Played his maestro role to good effect, though his job was made much easier by the limited pressure Cuba put on the ball in midfield. Assisted twice.

MF Alejandro Bedoya, 9 -- Outside of Dempsey, maybe the best player on the field during his 67 minutes in the midfield. Dominated on the left side of the American attacking.

FW Clint Dempsey, 9 -- Being relieved of the captaincy certainly agrees with Dempsey. The Sounders man put in one of his best-ever performances for the United States against an admittedly overmatched Cuban defense.

FW Aron Johannsson, 8 -- Not only did Johannsson score, he was a menace in the attacking end and combined well with his teammates. Won the penalty scored by Dempsey in the second half as well. Strong showing that bodes well for his chances to start moving forward.

Gyasi Zardes bagged the United States' second goal of the game in the 15th minute.


MF Joe Corona, 7 -- Played a solid holding midfield after coming on at halftime for Beckerman, but was perhaps part of a small blip on control immediately after the last 45 got underway.

DF Brad Evans, 7.5 -- Did well defensively and served as an outlet by pushing up into midfield during a less-sharp second half from the American midfield.

MF DeAndre Yedlin, NR -- Used his speed to threaten Cuba numerous times up the right flank. Occasionally ran out of ideas with the final pass.

Jason Davis covers Major League Soccer and the United States national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @davisjsn.


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