Top Stories

USA 1, Cuba 0: The Day After


                                                                               Photo by

It wasn’t pretty, nor was it a blowout, but much like its World Cup qualifying win against Guatemala, the U.S. men’s national team did just enough to escape a road game with a win and valuable three points after Saturday night’s 1-0 win against Cuba.

Those hoping for flash and sizzle got more ugliness and rough play, but that still doesn’t deny the fact that the Americans head into their first home game in the six-game group schedule with six points from two road games in the bag.

There were the memorable performances, like the ones delivered by Tim Howard and Landon Donovan, as well as forgettable performances, such as the ones by DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu. There was Carlos Bocanegra nearly having a good performance spoiled by a near own-goal that Tim Howard miraculously saved. There was also the darkest field conditions most Americans have ever seen for an international match. And finally, there were the American fans who made the trip to Cuba despite travel restrictions that could lead to them facing heavy sanctions for traveling. The sight of Americans wearing American flag masks was an indelible image


                                                                          Photo by

If you recognize any of these American fans don’t tell anybody.

It is poll time. What was your take on the U.S. team’s victory against Cuba?

Now the Americans prepare to face the team currently in second place in the group, Trinidad & Tobago, which tied Guatemala, 2-2, on Saturday night to move to four points in the group. Wednesday’s game at Toyota Park should be the U.S. team’s first real chance to flex its muscle and show some worrying fans that it can still dominate opponents.

What did you think of the Cuba game? Who stood out for you? Who do you think played terribly? What was your favorite moment of the match?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Once again an uninspiring performance by the USMNT. Granted conditions weren’t great, but even so they should be putting teams like Cuba to bed early and not risk a draw on a freak own goal. MBradley does need to mature in his defensive role, i.e. not recklessly going in on the tackle. On the other hand, those questioning his skill or world-class ability should probably watch him a little bit closer. His posistioning when receiving the ball is better by far than every player for the team. He always has opened his body up to receive and immediately pass the ball before it gets to him. Look at how Beas stops the ball and forward progress whenever he gets open. Beas can’t take anyone off the dribble, he can only get in behind when they forget about him and then his finishing, passing, etc. are shown to be well below par. Beas is a good club player, not a USMNT star. But I digress, MBradley should be moved forward a little and then add a real attacking midfielder to help him out. With movement ala Adu or field vision ala Benny it would open up the midfield and allow Lando more room to run all over the place. A mobile target man would also help. Ching is big orange cone.

  2. Has DaMarcus Beasley ever delivered a performance that wasn’t memorable for it’s suck-ness? I’m sorry, but the kid’s got no business out on the pitch.

  3. i dont want to see any more comments about the bright spots of the americans beating cuba 1-0. We need to be beating teams like cuba 5-0 with the level of our talent compared to cubas.

    The USMNT’s problem? coaching. we play anti-football and it’s something that needs to change asap. we need a coach that appreciates smooth football and recognizes that although our players aren’t world class-they arae good enough to play attractive football.

  4. I’ve been a pretty solid supporter of what BB has done – and pretty much always has given him the benefit of the doubt.

    A few things –

    1. Glad to see people not trashing DMB for his performance. His touch, particularly his first touch was not there, and he proved yet again that he’s not a good finisher. But, his work rate as a two way player is still remarkable – he was dangerous on the attack and is our best defender. He should always start.

    2. Lando – really looked better up top and was part of the attack – Dempsey looked better as well – and was trying to play D. Liked the switch – they need to stay in those spots.

    3. Man, I can’t blame anyone for complaining about how unstylish we play on the road.

    4. Edu didn’t have a great performance, but I’m glad he started and hope that we continue to see him play there. His upside is significant – and he won’t always give the ball away like he did on Saturday night.

    5. I’m trusting BB that he’ll insert the young guys at the right time (wynne,Adu, Jozy, Kenny). It’ll be exciting when he does.

    6. It’s going to be interesting who goes to the bench if the 3 young attackers get integrated – DMB, Lando, Demps, Adu, Jozy. Cooper. 1 of these is sitting or, we move from the 2 holding mids.

  5. Ive been a BB defender since his term started… and his results dont lie… they may not be pretty, but he gets the job done…. we got another road win, altho against a inferior team and an ungly win, but a win none-the-less….

    however, im starting to get annoyed…. i am not worried about what will happen when we play the likes of mexico, as it happens every time we play them (out possessed and capitalize on our chances)… but i would like to see some youth introduced as many have mentioned… Adu, Jozy, Cooper, etc… im glad to see Kljestan get some chances…. MB and Edu arent really new additions…. at least Adu deserves his right to be on the Roster at a minimum…. Jozy would be fresh blood intorduced to our attack… Cooper is a comodity that needs to be utilized SOON….

    saying that, i am not giving up hope on BB nor the USMN… ill at least give them the next couple games to improve as they’ll be at home…. quality field conditions, nice weather (hopefully), and lets not forget we always end up playing better at home….

    BUT, BB needs to start bringing up the players that will make the difference in 2010….

  6. We’ll look much better on a field where the ball doesn’t randomly hop up and the grass isn’t longer than the grass in my backyard. Some of these CONCACAF away games are just ugly. I’ll agree with most that I don’t like coach Bradley’s style but a lot of that wasn’t him, it was the conditions.

  7. Donovan would be a lot better for the Nats if someone could get him the ball.

    I like him much more up top because he can find hole and get behind the defense. However, it also requires someone to play him though. DMB missed him every time and the two central guys werent much better.

    I was happy coming away from Guate with a 1-0 win. That was a war played in fearsome athmosphere. Other than the rain and a bumpy pitch, this was not an intimidating setting. Cuba wasnt trying to hurt people or draw reds. Plus they didnt have any dangerous attacking options. A win is a win. But 1-0 in a cupcake match is not a good sign.

  8. It was a win, i’ll take it. The US should play much better and should close out these type of games. I wonder since now a lot of the players play in Europer they are more careful not to get hurt and therefore in games like this not give it there all as so they won’t risk injury. Regardless the team got the win which is what counts.

  9. Some really good comments here about the match and the immediate future of WCQ.

    I’m curious if some of the boring and at times, bad play can be attributed to the strange conditions of playing in cuba.

    We looked terrific against argentina and spain earlier in the summer- so i think we’ve got players that can play with the great international teams.

    That said, Adu needs to start for this team. Altidore too. I don’t know much about kenny cooper- but we need some goalscorers.

    I know some people will say he’s just another MLS level flunkie- but I think Logan Pause would be a good option for defensive midfielder. We can’t seem to keep possession worth a crap- unless it’s beas and donovon passing the ball to each other. Maybe Mastroeni as well.

    I’d love another crack at England before they get their act together(they might not). Maybe here in the states at giant’s stadium.

  10. 3 pts is great and all but that was terrible.

    This was NOT winning ugly in the Italian style. The Catenaccio style is a very nuanced style which the US certainly wasn’t employing. I’m not a fan of the Italian team or their style but comparing the US to them couldn’t be further from the truth.

    The attack looked positively FEEBLE against a team we should have dropped a 3 spot on EASILY.

    It’s a shame Adu, Altidore and Cooper played so poorly.

    Oh that’s right, 2 of them are at new clubs and need time to adjust. /sarc (Michael Bradley transferring a week ago to a MUCH bigger league unlike Adu’s largely lateral move)

    It’s just a joke. If we get this kind of ‘creativity’ from the Manager what can we really expect from the players on the field? We’ve looked ugly since the Gold Cup final.

  11. What short memories everybody here seems to have! This is the same team that recently lost to Spain (in Spain) 1-0, just before they went on to win the European Championship, and this is the same team that tied the World #1 Argentina.

    Don’t forget, teams often play down to their competition.

  12. I really hope the people who are claiming that Bob “Uh” Bradley will bring the young blood in after we scratch and claw our way to 9 points are correct.

    Otherwise, there are only 3 conclusions that I can draw from the following quote that Goff got out of BB, as it pertains to Cooper.

    “I guess if I were to say one quick thing about young players is that we are always watching, we are always keeping track of how they are doing and we always are trying to continue to move the players who have **earned** the opportunities along at the right speed.”

    A) BB is blind

    B) BB is a liar

    C) Cooper is being moved along at a secret “right speed”

  13. “We will never amount to anything in football because we have supporters with soccer mom’s mentalities (yea!!! we won and everyone played) and a main stream press who does not care. ” Thom

    Well, Thom, I’m sure your approach will speed things up quite a bit. I can feel the wind in my sails already.

    Excuse me, but I gotta go warm up the minivan now.

  14. David Mosse on ESPN SOccernet makes a great point here:

    “The good news, beyond the old cliché about finding ways to win when not at your best, is the fact that help is on the way. The overriding sense in watching the U.S. these days is that several veteran players are merely lame ducks. Bob Bradley is taking a pragmatic approach with youngsters like Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore and Marvel Wynne, much to the frustration of many fans, but the emergence of those players, hopefully in the not too distant future, should serve as the solution to some of the problems in evidence in Havana.

    If Bradley can get away with not fielding some of his most talented players, until he deems them ready to handle the pressure, and still notches victories like in Cuba and Guatemala, it might benefit the U.S. down the road. Unfortunately, for the time being we will be forced to endure more games like the one in Havana on Saturday, which probably ensured the U.S. won’t be invited back for another 60 years.”

    Full article here:

  15. Yeah, our forwards don’t get it done. But the talent pool just happens to have lots of tweeners.

    But, I’m going to cut the team some slack. Crappy field conditions, body and will sapping heat and humidity, and poor lighting would suck the life out of any game.

  16. When Mexico spanks us in the hex, I want to hear what the Bradley defenders will have to say then. The US is playing ugly, “try not to lose” soccer, and its going to catch up with them very soon.

  17. Land of the Free Home of the Brave, say what you like about your government and follow any religion you like, DON’T JUST GO TO CUBA OR THEY WILL BE CONSEQUENCES!!!!

  18. >>Grant Wahl is officially on the “Where in the world are Cooper, Altidore, and Adu” bandwagon.<<

    If they're not around in the early stages does that mean they won't make appearances later? Maybe in the hex?

    It's a long campaign…

  19. this was a hard game to take. for me, a long time beasley fan, it was especially difficult, as the last few games i’ve seen him play (since before he was injured) he’s been essentially a defensive option. but the real question is, “who do we have on the left that’s better?” proverbially, i hear crickets outside my house.

    this game was a great result. we do have to remember the conditions, field type, and difficulty of wcq. at the same time, it does seem we are getting complacent results from our team. (i would provide the compulsory ching/bradley jr-sr detracting quote here, but enough have already done so). i hear that kenny cooper doesn’t play like a target forward despite his height… but he scores goals and creates chances. that is something i just can’t accept; it’s just like an american (with no scoring, no creativity, and no player quite like him, really) to attempt to place a soccer player in a box…

  20. My two cents could we have played better, sure. If the field wasn’t wet, the grass wasn’t to long and the grounds were even. SO what does that sound like? excuses!! Lets face it DMB was really bad he missed two golden opportunities. Most people are bashing the score line they didn’t play with fire and spunk but they did enough to be up 3-0 at half time if Beas makes those two gimmes. So I say give it a rest, all the predictions of how we’ll do come world cup time are way off its still 2 and a half years away, and believe me no games will be played on that kind of surface. Let’s see how the team plays in chicago before we call for to many changes.


Leave a Comment