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United States beat Canada in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying

Jordan Morris (9) got the U.S. off to an excellent start in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Jordan Morris proved again Thursday night why so many pro teams are eager to sign him.

The 20-year-old Stanford star scored a pair of goals, the second off a steal and feed from Wil Trapp, to give the United States a 3-1 victory over Canada in the opener of CONCACAF Olympic qualifying.

Morris also scored in the first minute off Jerome Kiesewetter's cross, and Luis Gil tacked on a penalty kick for the U.S. in extra-time to put the game away.

"I think especially for the team, scoring so early is big. It's easier when you go up 1-0, especially in the first minute of the game," Morris said. "It's great to build that confidence and hopefully we can keep going, scoring some more goals."

Canada got its lone goal from Michael Petrasso after a corner kick in the 80th minute.

In the earlier match, Cuba and Panama played to a 1-1 draw.

The Cuban team, trying to reach the Rio Games for the first time since 1980, scored first when Panama's goalkeeper tried to clear the ball in the sixth minute. His kick bounced off on-coming Cuban forward Maykel Alejandro Reyes Azcuy and into the net for a stunning goal.

Panama did not score the equalizer until Josiel Alberto Nunez's goal in the 75th minute, helping it avoid a surprising upset as the country seeks its first ever Olympic bid.

Earlier in the day, CONCACAF confirmed that four Cuban players -- Emmanuel Labrada, Dairon Perez, Frank Lopez and Yendry Torres -- had defected from the squad.

Speaking to a news conference on Wednesday, coach Raul Valentin Gonzalez declined to discuss their departures.

"I feel that this tournament is a sport tournament," he said, according to MLSSoccer.com.

"It's not political. For me, what's important is the players who are here. The players who have gone, they've taken another route. It's not something that we're interested in. It's not something that we're interested in talking about."

Panama plays its second of three group games Saturday against Canada. Cuba faces the U.S. in the second game of the doubleheader at Sporting Park.

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