| Maycoll Canizalez (left) of Canada in a tussle with Livan Perez of Cuba during their tie in Foxboro on Monday. (AFP)
Foxboro: Brian McBride struck twice before halftime to lead the United States to a 2-0 Concacaf Gold Cup Group C victory over Martinique on Monday.
In an earlier game, Cuba scored a shock 2-0 win over Canada in Group D.
The US powered through to the quarter finals by securing their second successive win in the tournament.
In the first-ever meeting between the two sides, Martinique posed little threat in attack but the Americans were also below their best. The defending champions dominated the match but rarely tested Martinique goalkeeper Eddy Heurlie.
The US, who defeated El Salvador 2-0 on Saturday, went in front after 39 minutes when Steve Ralston crossed for McBride to head in. Four minutes later, McBride grabbed his 23rd international goal with another header from a centre by Ralston.
“We’re happy with the win and we have four or five days to patch our team up after two games in three days,” US coach Bruce Arena said. “We were very sloppy in the second half, we lacked sharpness and had a bit of fatigue.”
Martinique did not get a shot on target until the 56th minute. Bobby Convey failed to control the ball and goalkeeper Kasey Keller did well to parry Jose Gordon’s vicious shot from 24 metres. “Martinique came in here, obviously, to get a point,” said Arena, “so that first goal was big. The second one made it easier for us and we took our foot off the gas in the second half”.
Martinique were reduced to 10 men in the 90th minute when Yann Girier-Dufournier was sent off for a second yellow card after a tackle on Landon Donovan.
Earlier, Lester More scored twice in Cuba’s victory over Canada.
The Group D win was the first-ever for the Cubans in the regional championship, and also their first against the Canadians.
Canada, who beat Costa Rica 1-0 on Saturday, are now level on points with Cuba, who play Costa Rica on Wednesday in the final match of the group.
Cuba, who lost two warm-up matches against Panama last month, attacked from the start against Canada and went ahead in the 15th minute.
Jaime Colome crossed from the right and More stole in behind defender Paul Fenwick to give goalkeeper Lars Hirschfeld no chance.
At the other end, Odelin Molina made several fine saves to deny Canada an equaliser.
“We had a very poor start and we got punished for it,” Canada coach Holger Osieck said. “We never got into the game, it was just awful.
Richard Hastings gifted the Cubans a second goal 20 seconds into the second half when he gave the ball away to Pedro Faife, who set up the unmarked More 12 metres out.
Canada poured forward in a bid to get back into the game but Paul Stalteri, who hit the winning goal against Costa Rica, missed two late chances.
“We are very happy at the result,” said Cuba coach Miguel Company. “We were aiming for our first-ever victory in the Gold Cup and when we got that first goal, that helped us.