For forty-five minutes the United States looked as disjointed as the field they were playing on.
But in the second half, thanks to substitute Chris Wondolowski and a tenacious all-around effort from Julian Green, the USMNT defeated Cuba 2-0 in a historical friendly from Havana.
The USA came out playing fairly well in the second half after a lackluster opening segment, though it was Cuba who nearly struck first. Green cut inside but had a shot blocked, leading to a counter attack for Cuba the other way. It was Maikel Reyes who struck the near post of Ethan Horvath’s net in 58th minute.
Minutes later it was the USA who would break the deadlock, and to the surprise of no one it was Chris Wondolowski. The San Jose Earthquakes striker capitalized on a rebound from a Julian Green shot to slot home in the 62nd minute and give the American’s a 1-0 lead. The goal was Wondo’s 11th international tally and ninth against CONCACAF opponents per ESPN’s stat guru Paul Carr.
Chris Wondolowski has scored 9 of his 11 #USMNT goals vs CONCACAF teams.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) October 7, 2016
That's his first int'l goal scored away from home.
Ten minutes later it was Wondo returning the favor in the 62nd, this time find Green on a backpost run for a simple tap-in finish. Green was easily the most active US attacker in the first half and was rewarded with his involvement in both US goals in the second half.
There were other chances abound, including another post from Cuban midfielder Roberney Caballero in the 65th. Ethan Horvath had some solid moments off his line in the first half but was scrambling a bit more in the second but did record three saves for a shutout in his senior international debut.
Towards the end of the match, DC United defender Steve Birnbaum was struck with a high boot to the head opening a gash that needed treatment on the field. However, the referee did not stop play for a foul or the head injury giving Cuba a golden chance to score though the US did enough to prevent a clear shot. Birdbaum did not re-enter the match and the US, out of substitutions finished the match with ten players.
The United States next match will be Tuesday, October 11th against New Zealand from RFK Stadium in Washington DC.