BALTIMORE - Clint Dempsey walked away with the game ball for one of the few times in his career. With his first international hat trick, he boosted the United States to a 6-0 rout over Cuba on Saturday and into its eighth straight CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal.
Dempsey put the Americans ahead with a fourth-minute header, converted a penalty kick in the 64th, and finished the hat trick in the 78th minute.
"Habits carry over: scoring goals, getting a clean sheet, people getting assists," Dempsey said. "That confidence, definitely it grows in the team. And as the tournament goes on, people are getting stronger as a group."
Dempsey has scored a tournament-high six times, and his 57 international goals rank second behind Landon Donovan.
Gyasi Zardes (15th minute), Aron Johannsson (32d), and Omar Gonzalez (45th) also scored as the Americans built a 4-0 halftime lead against a Cuban team depleted by five absent players who may have defected.
The United States outshot the Cubans, 24-7.
Houston Dynamo forward Giles Barnes scored in the seventh minute, and Jamaica beat Haiti, 1-0, to reach its first CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinal since 1998.