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USMNT steamrolls Cuba in Nations League opener

WASHINGTON — A blowout win over Cuba was the minimum requirement for the heavily favored U.S. Men’s National Team in Friday’s Nations League opener against Cuba and the Americans wasted no time ensuring they delivered.

Weston McKennie and Jordan Morris combined to score three goals in the first nine minutes to set the stage for a 7-0 romp for the USMNT on Friday at Audi Field.

Morris had a hand in five of the USA’s first six goals, including a comical own goal that ricocheted off a Cuban defender’s face after Morris had his shot initially blocked by Cuban goalkeeper Nelson Johnston.

The Americans needed just 32 seconds to open the scoring, with Morris starting his assault on the left side of the Cuban defense with a speedy run down the right flank before sending in a cross to a streaking McKennie, who made no mistake on the finish.

Morris and McKennie combined on two more goals in the next eight minutes, with McKennie completing the fastest hat-trick in USMNT history when he scored his third of the night in the 13th minute, sur

Josh Sargent capped the scoring in the first half when he finished off a Morris pass to make the score 6-0 in the 40th minute.

USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter replaced McKennie and Morris at halftime, inserting Tyler Boyd and Paul Arriola with an eye toward Tuesday’s match against Canada in Toronto.

Christian Pulisic made it 7-0 in the 61st minute on a penalty kick drawn after a Cuban handball in the penalty area. Pulisic left the match just seven minutes later as Berhalter succeeded in having his team post a convincing victory while also avoiding any injuries.

The 7-0 victory fell one goal short of the record for most lopsided win in USMNT history, an 8-0 win against Barbados in 2008.

The Americans will face Canada on Tuesday with a chance to jump into first place in their Nations League group with a victory. Canada posted a pair of wins over Cuba by a combined score of 7-0 to start group play.


  1. There was plenty of value despite the lack of competition. This game showed for the fist time a quicker first touch from the U.S. players even though the rivals helped with this it’s still a good practice of it in a real competition. This game could have been worse 9-0 even 10-0. Lots more chemistry between cannon Morris Sargent Morris and I really liked Mckinney in a very offensive minded midfielder he had a very nice back pass.

  2. Even though it was no contest against a weak team that offered little opposition, there is one thing–US passing was really sharp. That was good to see.

  3. It’s Cuba- did what they ought to do. x100. I do take heart that they did it quickly, immediately ruthlessly taking away any hope for Cuba before it could take root. Let’s no pretend none of us didn’t have any doubts that this team could somehow find a way to make this interesting.

  4. How many Cuban players defected this week?

    At least we did what we were supposed to do and didn’t play down to our competition. Still, it doesn’t mean much other than we can beat an outmatched group of non professional soccer players.

    • Thanks for pointing this out. Until you spoke up, nobody had figured out the Cuba is a very bad team. And when you sagely implied that we as a fan base should not read too much into a victory over such a flawed opponent…. well I don’t like to curse but Mama Mia! Based on this subtle observational instinct, I can only imagine you are part Brazilian!
      Jesus Christ man…. enjoy a nice win for once.

  5. I thought it looked only slightly better than previous games. Too many touches, too flat in midfield. Crisp combinations not there. Only improvement was flank play.

  6. Can someone explain to me again why this new tournament is of value to the top level teams in this region. We learned nothing of value in this match. Considering we had 76% possession, took 20 shots at goal, and only gave up 3 attempts (all off target) the outcome of the game was a foregone conclusion.
    Did we find solutions in this game for who has a future with the USMNT? No….there were no new faces tried at any of the positions of need. So what exactly was gained in this match? The only thing I can think of is we’ve finally found the level of competition that allowed Lovitz to look decent…Not good, but at least he didn’t get torched by anyone.

    • One it’s not for the better teams, it’s for the smaller teams gives them something to play for instead of having 2 matches every four years. Cuba kind of looked into the A League with a good qualifying draw. El Salvador and Jamaica who both may make the Hex are in League B. The other 3rd seeds inLeague A are Bermuda, Martinique, and Curaçao who are all better than Cuba this year. The match in Toronto should be worth wild other than the weather might not be what MLS players are used to but the Bundesliga guys should be fine.

    • “What was gained in this match?” A few observations to answer that question. McKennie played the 10 tonight, and got some results. It allowed CP to play LW, (which is what some of us want!). It also allowed Roldan to play the 8, which is his best position. If Adams is the starting 6, Bradley is 2nd, then Yueill showed he can push MB for minutes @ the position. He def should replace Trapp as the 3rd option. Morris & Cannon’s combination play is something interesting going forward. Morris passing has improved dramatically, this year, (though it was Cuba), a match like this is valuable for momentum in run-of-play. CP & Morris on the wings, yielded more results than Arriola & Boyd. Ream & Miazga?!, (Johnny Razor- Has this partnership @ CB, happened? #Cheatcode). Since when do we care about watching USMNT vs Cuba? I do, can’t lie about that! I was busy as hell earlier, and I rushed home to watch the match. Y? A lot of us wanted the ‘changing of the guard!’, to happen two years ago. The manager hire took too long. GB is hired, contrary to the fan base, and we’ve been anticipating the team, ‘system’, to result in wins. This was a trap game, (no pun intended,… o the irony!) If USMNT loses, we suck. If USMNT wins, we were supposed too, it’s Cuba. We still suck. Nothing to gain. IMO, it was a win, with actual team cohesion that lead to a bunch of goals. Let’s see the lineup for Tuesday, and hope this continues against Canada!


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