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U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT vs. Cuba: SBI Live Commentary

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The U.S. Men’s National Team takes on Cuba today in Havana in the first of two October friendlies ahead of November’s World Cup qualifiers (4pm,  ESPN2).

Ahead of its opening Hexagonal round matches against Mexico and Costa Rica, the USMNT will aim to stay sharp against a Cuba team it routed 6-0 at the 2015 Gold Cup. After solid wins over Guatemala and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in September, Jurgen Klinsmann has brought in a young, rotated roster into the friendlies to help determine who will make the November cut.

While much of the starting XI is as expected, two youngsters make noteworthy appearances. Without Brad Guzan and Tim Howard on the roster, Molde goalkeeper Ethan Horvath earns the start between the posts. Julian Green, in favor with his new Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti, also makes his return to the field after a prolonged absence. With those two earning time, likely along with several other young players looking to break in, Klinsmann will be keeping a sharp eye on who might perform their way into a roster spot for the Hex.

The SBI staff will be offering updates and analysis in the comments section below, so feel free to follow along, and as always, please feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions below.

Enjoy the action.

44 comments
    • Ryan Tolmich

      Think it’s just about the strongest XI the U.S. could field on the day. Green’s inclusion is a bit of a surprise given the recent performances from Arriola, but team definitely looks a lot like the one that should take the field against Mexico next month.

      Like

      • Colton Coreschi

        I agree, Ryan. I’m really pleased to see Green getting an opportunity, though I’m sure Arriola will get his time today as well.

        Like

  • Two Cents

    Wow. I can’t believe I actually called the lineup. Usually, I’m off by at least 4 players. However, not sure if I should be excited about thinking the same as JK or not…

    Like

    • Ryan Tolmich

      The lack of surprise is a surprise itself Haha. Definitely a fairly straightforward choice, but Klinsmann is usually good for a few shocks.

      Like

  • Ives Galarcep

    The lineup is definitely a vote of confidence in DeAndre Yedlin, who didn’t have the best Copa America, but who looks like he is still Klinsmann’s first choice option at right back. Then again, maybe Klinsmann wants to see Yedlin today before he makes a final call on whether Yedlin starts against Mexico and Costa Rica.

    Like

    • Colton Coreschi

      At the risk of sounding like a broken record and dweeb for responding to myself, this pitch is severely limiting the USMNT ability to link together any kind of attacking play. While not ideal against an opponent you should be able to control play against, it might be worth moving towards more of a heft-the-ball-to-Altidore-and-let-him-bring-it-down style of attack.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Ryan Tolmich

    Through the first nine minutes or so, VERY physical so far. Pulisic and Altidore both victims of hard fouls.

    Like

  • Old School

    TV feed out for anyone else? I can only assume it’s because someone unplugged a broadcast cord at the stadium to plug in their electric lawnmower and shave down this pitch.

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  • Old School

    First goal by Bradley or Kljestan skipping it off this pitch at target from distance?

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    • Ryan Tolmich

      Hard to see where goal is coming from. Green has looked good, while set pieces have been dangerous. Definitely not an aesthetically pleasing start.

      Like

  • Old School

    I noticed we’re seeing a tradition not regularly employed by the United States: in the center of the kit is the nations, stadium and date. I’ve always liked that and wonder why we don’t do it, too?

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  • Ryan Tolmich

    Good work from Ethan Horvath to make a nice save. Not overly difficult, but given field conditions, a nice stop for the Molde goalkeeper. Cuba looking lively.

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  • Old School

    Appreciate the running stream and commentary efforts, SBI Staff, but I’m going to pull the plug at halftime and take care of some errands. This match is pretty hard to watch.

    Like

  • UclaBruinGreat

    Wow what a horrible half. The field is not an excuse. I see more action and better football in my adult Sunday soccer league than I did that first half and we play on worst fields. Looked like the U.S. players just don’t want to be there.

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  • Ryan Tolmich

    Brutal half of soccer. Green, Horvath look good. Not much else, as the two sides go to the locker room scoreless.

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  • Gary Page

    If there was anything good from the US in the first half I certainly didn’t see it. Yeah, I know the pitch is awful, but passing was very poor, often aimless, and the players often made poor decisions, too. Cuba looked much better and more dangerous. Considering, according to Ian Darke, that Cuba lost 3-0 to French Guyana, this game isn’t saying much for US soccer.

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      • Ryan Tolmich

        Yep, it’s all a part of it. An unfortunate reality, but with other federations in the middle of WCQ, few marquee teams are available for friendlies. Field this bad is inexcusable, and this game is very much about politics, so it is what it is. Team needs to get up for the game and they haven’t yet.

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  • Ryan Tolmich

    Second half is underway, and Wood nearly starts it with a goal. Several USMNT subs: Birnbaum in for Brooks, Wondo in for Pulisic, Chandler on for Yedlin.

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    • Ryan Tolmich

      Thought Yedlin showed fairly well. Definitely a target for Cuba and had a solid half. Interested to see Chandler, as he looks to battle back into a more consistent USMNT spot. The Pulisic sub, meanwhile, makes infinite sense. Don’t leave him on this field longer than necessary.

      Like

  • Citronomics

    What @Wychijeff said. We are reverting to not moving into space to set up combination passing and hoofing the ball up to the Cuba box. There are gaping holes in the middle of the pitch we could be utilizing. Oh well. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Like

  • Ryan Tolmich

    OFF THE POST! Just seconds after botching what should have been a simple counter attack, the U.S. nearly conceded as Horvath is beaten. Ball slams off the post, and the U.S. is spared. Bad, bad all around from the U.S.

    Like

  • Ryan Tolmich

    GOAL, and of course it’s Wondolowski! Great work from Green forcing a save, but it falls right to Wondo, who pokes in a true poacher’s goal. 1-0 USMNT

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    • SilverRey

      Sucks when you score an international goal for your country and it comes off as bad for your resume. Poor Wondo, not sure he’ll ever recover in the eyes of the fans…

      Like

  • Ryan Tolmich

    POST AGAIN! Horvath and the USMNT fortunate, as a header from close range hits the post again. Cuba continuing to push. Absolutely deserve a goal

    Like

  • Ryan Tolmich

    GOAL GREEN! Wound turns provider, and Green gets a deserved goal. His first USMNT finish since Belgium.

    Like

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