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h0333 BC-SOC-WCup-Barbados-US 1stLd-Writethru 06-15 0629

U.S. wins qualifying opener

CARSON, Calif. — The United States couldn’t wait to get started in its qualifying run for the 2010 World Cup.

Brian Ching scored two goals after Clint Dempsey scored 54 seconds into the match to set the tone in the United States’ 8-0 rout of Barbados on Sunday in the Americans’ first qualifying game for the 2010 World Cup.

Dempsey added a second-half goal for the Americans, who scored three times in the first half and five times in the second.

After going scoreless in exhibitions against three of the world’s top 10 teams leading into the qualifier, the United States had three goals in the first 20 minutes against Barbados.

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Michael Bradley and Ching also had first-half goals, and Landon Donovan, Dempsey, Eddie Johnson and Ching added goals in the second. Barbados also had an own-goal in the 86th minute.

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, never really challenged, got the shutout. Tim Howard, who probably would have started in goal, strained his back in practice on Friday and is listed as day-to-day.

The United States, which has made five consecutive World Cup appearances, will play the second and final game of the home-and-home series at Barbados on June 22. The winner is determined by total score of the two matches.

In the opening minute, Carlos Bocanegra lofted a 20-yard pass that sailed just over a defender’s head as Dempsey charged into the box. Dempsey controlled the ball, then slid and rolled it past goalkeeper Alvin Rouse as he desperately tried to block the shot.

Bradley, son of U.S. coach Bob Bradley, made it 2-0 in the 12th minute when he banged in a rebound. Steve Cherundolo made a centering pass from the right wing, the ball bounced off a defender and Ching tried to kick it in. Rouse blocked it, only to have Bradley slam the ball into the net.

With Barbados’ defense in disarray and the United States constantly on the attack, the Americans extended their lead in the 20th minute on Ching’s goal, coming when he deflected Pablo Mastroeni’s hard drive from 20 yards.

Donovan made it 4-0 on a free kick from 30 yards, putting the ball just inside the left post. Four minutes later, Dempsey scored on a rebound from 12 yards, and Johnson got one in the 82nd minute.

The Americans were coming off a 2-0 loss at No. 9 England, a 1-0 loss at No. 4 Spain and a 0-0 tie against top-ranked Argentina in exhibition matches. They Americans had a first-round bye in the North and Central American and Caribbean region. Barbados beat Dominica 2-1 in their series.

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If the United States advances to the CONCACAF semifinals, it likely would play in August in a group that would include Cuba, Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago. The final round of regional qualifying will be next year, with three teams from CONCACAF earning a berth in the World Cup, and the fourth-place team facing the No. 5 nation from South America for another spot.

The Americans are No. 21 in the FIFA rankings. Barbados, a Caribbean nation of some 282,000, is tied for 121st. The meeting was only the third between them. The United States won 7-0 at Foxborough, Mass., and 4-0 in Barbados in 2000, during qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

The U.S. team has changed since it was knocked out of the opening round of the 2006 World Cup in Germany by a 3-0 loss to the Czech Republic, a 1-1 tie with Italy and a 2-1 loss to Ghana. Bradley eventually replaced Bruce Arena as coach of the national team.

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