CARSON, Calif. (AP) -- The United States scored early and it scored late. The Americans got five goals with their feet, one with a header, one with a chest and another when an opponent put the ball into his own net.
A record-setting rout began when Clint Dempsey scored 53 seconds in, and when it was over, the United States had opened qualifying for the 2010 World Cup with an 8-0 victory over Barbados on Sunday.
Next weekend's second leg of the home-and-home, total-goals series is a mere formality.
"We're not going to say we're going to go out and win the World Cup after playing Barbados," Dempsey said. "Nothing against them. They came out and tried hard, but we're supposed to win these types of games decisively."
Dempsey and Brian Ching scored two goals apiece, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley and Eddie Johnson each had one, and
Barbados' Daryl Ferguson had an own goal. The margin of victory was the highest in the 92-year-history of the U.S. team, and it was only the second time the Americans had as many as eight goals in a game.
Bob Bradley, coaching the U.S. team in a qualifier for the first time since replacing Bruce Arena, had told his team in the leadup to the match to set an early tone.
"We spent a lot of time with just getting off on the right foot, and a goal early like that is certainly getting off on the right foot," Bradley said. "From there, it's just an exercise in staying sharp, continuing to play the right ball with the right timing and finishing off some plays so that we had a margin."
The only other time the United States scored this many goals was in an 8-1 victory over the Cayman Islands in 1993. The Americans had 7-0 wins against El Salvador in 1993 and Barbados in a 2000 qualifier.
Barbados coach Eyre Sealy sounded resigned to defeat.
"I think it was over in 12 minutes. We conceded way too early," Sealy said.
The Americans are ranked 21st in the world and Barbados is tied for 121st. The U.S. team failed to score in three exhibition games against top 10 teams leading up to the match but now have outscored Barbados, a Caribbean island nation of some 282,000 people, by a combined 19-0 in three meetings.
"I was hoping that we could have kept it tight for the first 45 minutes and then try to see how long we could have gone," Sealy said. "By the end of 45 minutes, we were a very tired team."
Brad Guzan, starting because No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Howard strained his back in practice on Friday, was never really challenged. The Americans outshot Barbados 22-2 -- including 14-0 for shots on target.
The opening goal came after Carlos Bocanegra lofted a 20-yard pass in the opening minute that sailed just over a defender's head as Dempsey charged into the penalty area. Dempsey slid forward and rolled the ball past goalkeeper Alvin Rouse for his first goal since September's exhibition against Brazil. It was believed to be the fastest goal for the U.S. in a qualifier; Ante Razov scored 74 seconds in against Trinidad and Tobago in 2001.
Bradley, son of the coach, made it 2-0 in the 12th minute when he banged in a rebound and Ching made it 3-0 in the 20th, when Pablo Mastroeni's shot bounced off his chest and into the goal.
Donovan made it 4-0 in the 59th 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. Johnson got one in the 82nd minute, the own goal came in the 86th, and Ching redirected Steve Cherundolo's cross into the net in the 89th.
"It felt good to get a good one at the end," Ching said. "I was agonizingly close all day. To finally put that one in at the end, my effort felt rewarded."
Notes: Mastroeni left in the 26th minute because of a strained left glut muscle and was replaced by 19-year-old Freddy Adu, who played in his first World Cup qualifier.