U.S. Men's National Team

Wondolowski, Green lead USMNT to ugly win over Cuba


It certainly wasn’t the U.S. Men’s National Team’s best performance. Ugly field conditions led to an even uglier first half before a pair of the more debated call-ups sealed a win.

Chris Wondolowski and Julian Green each scored a second half goal to push the USMNT to a 2-0 win over Cuba at the Estadio Pedro Marrero.

Wondolowski’s breakthrough came in the 62nd minute, finally opening the scoring in match that had been lacking up to that point. As Green’s shot was saved by Cuba goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez, Wondolowski pounced on the rebound to fire his 11th international goal into an open net.

Just nine minutes later, the San Jose Earthquakes forward turned provider, returning the favor for  Green for the USMNT’s second. After receiving a pass from Timmy Chandler, Wondolowski slid a pass to Green for the Bayern Munich’s first finish since his World Cup goal against Belgium.

The first half was, for lack of a better word, uneventful. As both sides dealt with poor pitch conditions, play was consistently sloppy. Accurate passing was rare, as set pieces and long balls looked to be the most likely avenue for a goal.

Both teams created very little throughout the opening 45. Green proved to be the USMNT’s best attacking outlet in the opening stanza, while Ethan Horvath made a pair of saves in the first half of his debut.

The second half started a bit better as a Green shot was blocked off the line in the opening seconds. However, it was Cuba who most deserved an opener, as a Maykel Reyes shot smashed into the post in the 58th minute following a botched USMNT counter. A second shot from Roberney Caballero struck the post shortly after Wondolowski’s opener, but it was not to be for a Cuba team that likely deserved at least one goal.

Following the win, the USMNT return to action on Tuesday against New Zealand at RFK Stadium.

  • danny

    Wondo to the rescue. The guy’s been doing it year after year. One of the great American MLS strikers of the last 10 years. He deserves every chance he’s gotten.


    • AKinDC

      He’s proven over and over again to be an excellent CONCACAF level striker, without the special something needed to take it a step higher.
      Nothing wrong with that, but I still don’t want him on the field when we’re playing better teams.


    • Lost in Space

      No he doesn’t. Wondo is an average player at best, and at 33 has proven time and again that he cannot contribute at the international level against anyone except teams of inferior quality. The goal he scored was a rebound that Morris was in place to finish even if Wondo hadn’t been there.

      It is past time that Wondo was passed over by any number of players. Players who can actually provide something for the future.


      • Chase

        So if Morris had been the one who scored, would you have discounted it because “Wondo was is place to finish”? Can you also explain away Wondo’s assist?

        …We get it. He missed a big opportunity to beat Belgium over two years ago. It doesn’t mean he isn’t a really good player. Some of you people need to let it go and move on with your life. Geez.

        The truth of the matter is that it was an ugly ass game on a crappy ass field. We weren’t playing well, and Wondo came on and delivered. Period. Props to him.


  • Ike

    1. You can’t assess much from this game, as the pitch ruined the game. We played on better fields in rec ball at age 5

    2. Horvath looked solid when called upon.

    3. Chandler was consistently beaten

    4. Why bring Brooks half way around the world to play 45 minutes?

    5. No foul or card on Birnbaum. Loved hearing JK take up for his guys.

    6. Green did what you are supposed to do as a fringe call up; he took advantage of his opportunity, looked dangerous on the flanks, and put a bug in the coach’s ear that he can be an asset.

    7. Great for the young guys to go on the road in a tough spot with bad field conditions and gain some valuable CONCACAF experience. Pulisic wasn’t at his best. But great learning moment for the young man.

    Looking forward to seeing what roster changes are made for Tuesday.


  • Brian S.

    That was the worst professional match I have ever watched. It absolutely accomplished nothing. It seemed to be more of a burden on some of our players than anything else and really put their health at risk by playing on an unsafe surface.


  • Lost in Space

    Green scored a goal and had an assist. Same as Wondo. Difference between the two is that Green was active and dangerous for 90 minutes while Wondo was a second half sub who had 2 good plays.

    Green should have been Man of the Match.

    Liked by 1 person

  • johnnyrazor

    Let’s face it this was a political photo op, would have been nice if some American company would have donated some sod and installed it as a goodwill gesture though.

    It was nice to see the American Outlaws be able to show their faces this time around. I had forgotten, but saw the pictures this week of the American supporters (not sure if this was still Sams Army or if the Outlaws were around) with flag bandanas over their faces since they were violating the embargo to be there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chase

      “would have donated some sod and installed it as a goodwill gesture though.”

      I was thinking the exact same thing. We could have sent a crew down ourselves a few days before and had a decent surface for a couple hundred grand. I know Cuba wanted a “home field advantage,” but this wasn’t a freaking qualifier. Shame on the US Soccer Federation for not making the contract contingent on having a decent playing surface. It was literally straw, dirt, and monkey grass. Absolutely pathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

  • AMPhibian

    Did this game help us prepare for the hex? I think maybe it did, but wtf.

    I still don’t get how we played on a pasture with no field lights or running water, not even a nearby creek. They did appear to have small circular mosquito pools ten or so feet beyond the end line, but it’d have to be boiled before potable.

    Not one person attempted a slide tackle on either team, and nobody on our side really went all out. Understandable.

    When I saw this line-up I was feeling good. This felt like the most technical, attacking minded side I can remember us starting, and it made sense how we were going to try and play. The bumpy pitch messed that up, frustrated Pulisic, and kept the game from flowing or having a lot of pretty connections.

    I did like the chemistry I saw from Wood and Jozy, even if it wasn’t their night, they were creating good spaces and looking for each other. Green may have messed up when he blew that 3 on 2 with them, shooting it into the defenders legs, but he actually seemed to have an understanding with those guys.

    Green was my MotM. He worked hard on both sides, made chances for himself and others, didn’t tire till the last 5-8 minutes, and his corners were good… If we’re going with this 4-4-2 / 4-1-3-2 style, he seems among our best options in that role.

    Did anyone else notice Fabian covering that LCB position a lot in the second half, maybe it was after Birnbaum got hurt? He seems like he could evolve into a center-half as he gets older, like a Sergio Ramos type. I thought he had an efficient, good game, even though he was largely responsible for one of those Cuban post shots.

    He’s still experimenting with Pulisic when it comes to what side he wants him on, right? I personally liked him on Johnson’s side, so we didn’t have two young-bloods on that right wing.

    Bradley needs to grow out that neck beard.
    Honestly though, if he came into my “barbershop”, I’d give him a Lee Van Cleef. Lee Van Cleef’s for all.

    Horvath was good, everyone was fine, this game was not much.


    • johnnyrazor

      Green has played mostly on the left if memory serves, and Pulisic has played mostly on the right this season for Dortmund although he played more on the left last year.


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