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USA vs. Cuba, Gold Cup quarterfinals: Clint Dempsey's hat trick paces 6-0 win

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Dempsey is playing as well as he ever has for the United States. Already enjoying a stellar Gold Cup, Dempsey scored his first-ever international hat trick to pace the United States to a 6-0 win over Cuba on Saturday that was every bit as easy as the scoreline suggests. The United States will play the winner of Haiti-Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinals on July 22 in Atlanta.

Dempsey got the United States off to a blazing start, finishing off a well-placed Timmy Chandler cross in the 4th minute. In what would become a recurring theme, Dempsey took advantage of some suspect defending to hit the header past a defenseless goalkeeper. The USA basically cruised from there.

Gyasi Zardes gave the USA a 2-0 lead about 10 minutes later, Arron Johannsson made it 3-0 and Omar Gonzalez sent them into halftime with a 4-0 lead.

Cuba didn't put up much more resistance in the second half. Dempsey scored goal No. 2 on a penalty in the 64th minute and then finished off his hat trick about 10 minutes later, hitting a sliding volley with the outside of his right foot.

The United States has now outscored its Gold Cup opponents 10-2, with six of those goals coming from Dempsey. The Seattle Sounders forward now has eight international goals in 2015 -- the most he's ever scored in a single year -- and 47 in his international career. Only Landon Donovan (57) has more goals in a USMNT shirt.

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