The USA U-17 Men's National Team is officially heading to the 2017 U-17 World Cup after a 6-2 win over Cuba in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship confirmed its qualification for the tournament in India, and booked it a place in the Championship final on May 7.
The lop-sided score was no surprise. If anything, it was little low considering Honduras - a team the USA had beaten 3-0 - put seven goals past Cuba.
The US rested a few starters for a match it was expected to win comfortably, but New York Red Bulls Academy prospect Chris Gloster was in the starting lineup and played the full 90 minutes.
To Cuba's credit, the heavily-favored Americans were made to work a little harder for their win than expected. Indiana Vassilev opened the scoring in the 15th minute for the USA,just three minutes after Josh Sargent missed a penalty - it seemed likely to be a long day for the Cubans. Brian Savigne equalized for the Cubans four minutes later, making the US back-line look a little silly in the process.
An own-goal put the USA back in front and Andrew Carleton's 39th-minute strike was one of the prettier goals of the tournament so far. A 3-2 lead at half-time suggested the USA had broken Cuba's resistance.
After the re-start, however, AJ Vasquez put the ball past his own keeper and Cuba were back in the game: 3-2 after 47 minutes.
Not for the first time in this Championship, Tim Weah turned the game for the Americans. Subbed in at half-time, he had a role in goals for Zyen Jones and Bryan Reynolds as the USA extended their lead again. With the game well won, Weah added the capper himself in the 88th minute.
The win sends the USA to the CONCACAF U-17 Championship final on May 7, where it will play Mexico - the team it beat, 4-3, in the group stage and from whom it would very much like to take the regional title.