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Matchnight: USA-Cuba


Who do you think will be in Bob Bradley's starting lineup?

Keep in mind that he not only has to replace the suspended Steve Cherundolo and the injured Pablo Mastroeni, but consider the physical demands on players ahead of Wednesday's match against Trinidad and Tobago at Bridgeview.

Tim Howard in goal, and Oguchi Onyewu and Carlos Bocanegra at central back seem certain. Does Heath Pearce remain on the left? Or does Eddie Lewis slide back there? Frankie Hejduk replaces Cherundolo on the right.....right?

Brian Ching as the target forward, with Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey running off him. Donovan started on the right flank against Guatemala with Dempsey up top. Does Ricardo Clark step in for Mastroeni and join Michael Bradley? Or does Bob mix things up to get DaMarcus Beasley onto the field?

Your opinions are welcome here.

As usual, this is the place for pregame, in-game and postgame discussion.

I hope to rejoin you later, depending on Internet access at the stadium.

USA LINEUP (4-4-2): Howard; Hejduk, Bocanegra, Onyewu, Pearce; Dempsey, Edu, Bradley, Beasley; Donovan, Ching.

Cherundolo (suspension) and Orozco (coach's decision) are not in uniform.

Just down to the extended section of this thread for some of the scene at the stadium.....

The rain continues to fall; it's going to be messy.

Maurice Edu is listed on the official lineup sheet as "EDU, Edu" and was introduced by the public address announcer as "Freddy Adu."

Mostly sunny skies turned ominous 2 ½ hours before kickoff and heavy rain and a persistent wind made a mess of the dreary complex. Havana had enjoyed pleasant weather since the edge of Hurricane Gustav passed through western Cuba last week, and while residents prepared for the possible arrival of Hurricane Ike in the coming days, this storm offered a sneak preview of sorts.
Though much of the main concrete grandstands sits under a roof, holes of all shapes and sizes allowed rain to flow unimpeded. Early-arriving fans bunched together in the protected, but wind-whipped and mist-sprayed, sections. The southside stands, however, lacked roofing and remained empty except for broadcast personnel.
For a country that does not embrace this sport the way it does baseball, the fans displayed a colorful range of soccer allegiances with their clothing and hats: El Salvador, Guatemala, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Costa Rica, Chelsea, Necaxa, Uruguay, Real Madrid, England, Honduras, Barcelona, Portugal and Argentina. For good measure, there was even a Michael Jordan jersey, a New York Yankees cap and a Derek Jeter t-shirt.
One Cuban donned a U.S. World Cup 2006 shirt and red-white-and-blue bandanna and wrapped himself in an American flag because, he said, "I like the American team and I think they will win."
Several American fans entered the country without permission from the U.S. government, using a third country as a travel hub. As long as their passports do not get stamped in Cuba - Cuban immigration will grant such requests - their previous whereabouts will not be detected by U.S. customs. To remain anonymous, they arrived at the stadium in olive military caps, sunglasses and U.S. bandanas covering their faces.
Yuri Zambrano, a Cuban who lives a couple blocks from the stadium, said he was rooting for his country but was happy to see the U.S. team. "There is a rivalry between the governments," he explained in a combination of English and Spanish. "In spite of the fact that there are problems, there must be a friendly relationship in sport."

By Steve Goff  |  September 6, 2008; 3:42 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Matchday: The World
Next: Matchnight: United-Earthquakes


Reasonable starting 11,
but i'm still not liking the whole Hedjuk thing.. IMO he's lost it

Posted by: Spartan | September 6, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Richard | September 6, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I love everything about Frankie.....well, except for his play. No doubt he's a good teammate, but he's got to have game also.

Posted by: EssEff | September 6, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

In general, I don't think the whole 2 d-mids with Donovan at outside mid has worked that well (The Guat win was lucky - we'd have lost against a better opponent). We need a new strategy.

What I'd like to see is more of a 4-3-3. Put Bradley, Edu (or Clark), and Beasely (who's just as good in defense as Bradley and others but better offensively) in mid. Have Ching up top with Dempsey and Donovan working interchangeably in offense (so Donovan isn't tied to the outside mid all of the time). Dempsey and Donovan are honest enough to make sure they put in defensive efforts when necessary.

If Pearce has looked good in training, give him the start on the left (otherwise go with Lewis) with Hejduk on the right.

Posted by: HopingForChange | September 6, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Goff gets some Columbus Dispatch ink (those of us at the Insider have read this one before):

...and off-topic -- Mastodon Juan, meet Shawn Mitchell:

Posted by: SportzNut21 | September 6, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Wynn Gooch Boca
Bradley Edu
Lewis Beasley
Dempsey Donovan

Posted by: Mike | September 6, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know a website to watch the game?

Posted by: Atl | September 6, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Edu better be on that field before Clark is even considered.

Posted by: NoRico | September 6, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Why is Eddie Lewis even on the team? His defense is nothing to write home about and on offense his usual contribution is losing possession.


Posted by: noptov52 | September 6, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

noptov52, who got the red card before the game started?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

If he plays Ricardo Clark with Bradley i'm going to gouge my eyes out I can't stand that 2 defensive mid crap, and Clark can't play to begin with. Put Dempsey out wide instead of Donovan and let our leading goal scorer do his job, while Beas and Demps run wild on the wings.

Posted by: Mocker | September 6, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

hejduk onyewu bocanegra pearce
beasley bradely edu lewis
donovan ching

please no eddie johnson, and i think dempsey should sit because when he's out there now he's way too lazy and plays with no work rate or inspiration

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I'd put Cooper up front and maybe have Rossi or Padilla running off of him. Slip Subotic in the back and naturalize Messi to give us some game up the middle.

Posted by: noname | September 6, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Ant | September 6, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

As long as Donavan is not playing wide right again, I don't care.

Posted by: donkeyrichard | September 6, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jason | September 6, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Goff: How is the pitch? Mike Woitalla of Soccer America reports that groundskeeping consists of the use of a couple of backyard-grade mowers. (He didn't say whether they are as old as many of the vehicles on Havana's streets.)

Posted by: The Jeff | September 6, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I picked up the early edition of Sunday's Post a short while ago. The TV section says that BSPN2 will rebroadcast this match tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Posted by: The Jeff | September 6, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse


its cuba, we should win with any configuration.

wynn gooch boca pearce
lewis adu beasley
donovan cooper

Posted by: castroviejo | September 6, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I saw Arg-Par there, plus several more games were up as well.

Posted by: Robert | September 6, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Cooper up front?

I thought he was in Texas.

Posted by: seahawkdad | September 6, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

"and off-topic -- Mastodon Juan, meet Shawn Mitchell"

Thanks for pointing that out. Hey, I don't love Red Bull or anything, but they won't own the team forever, and in the meantime they're pouring insane amounts of money into building a stadium of such a high standard that it'll be decades-- if ever-- before an MLS team comes close. And a practice facility.

In the meantime, I've been to Crew Stadium and it's the absolute minimum necessary. And I've done some work in Columbus (Dublin actually), and outside of that record store on High Street, it's a craphole. Hell, the Crew can't even get a single sponsor for their entire erector set of a ballpark, while NY is getting the CONSTRUCTION sponsored. Believe me, it's not principle that's leading the Hunts to call it "Crew Stadium."

So, anyhow, to Shawn, I say "Moo."

Posted by: Mastodon Juan | September 6, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

What channel is this game on and what time?

Posted by: snoopy | September 6, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

espn classic 8pm

Posted by: usa fan | September 6, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Is there going to be any radio coverage? Either a local dc station or a link to an online radio station would be very helpful. Thanks!

Posted by: GoUnited | September 6, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse has got it now.

Posted by: Alan | September 6, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Again the combination of 19th century lighting, our dark kits, and SD (gasp!) TV make for tough TV viewing. That calls for an extra beer...

For whoever asked, I found the game on ESPN 360, not sure how you missed it?

Posted by: JkR | September 6, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Interesting....humid and hot according to reports, but Howard has long pants. Goal box must be brutal?

Posted by: JkR | September 6, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Interesting....humid and hot according to reports, but Howard has long pants. Goal box must be brutal?

Posted by: JkR | September 6, 2008 8:19 PM

In an earlier post I referred to reporting by Mike Woitalla of Soccer America to the effect that the groundskeeping was substandard. The real estate in front of Howard may have all kinds of pebbles and stuff that could be abrasive.

Posted by: The Jeff | September 6, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

why did Jaime Moreno leave for Bolivia if he wasnt on the game roster today

Posted by: Atl | September 6, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

If Cuba gets a goal its going to be on a counter-attack from either Bradley or Edu giving the ball away, repeatedly. I still can't believe that Freddy wasn't at least called into camp.

Posted by: Forrest | September 6, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

And there's Bradley's stupid/mandatory yellow card. I'm surprised when he doesn't get one.

Posted by: Forrest | September 6, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

was it a good goal?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Nice work, deuce.

Posted by: Colm | September 6, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

These games are won by ugly, opportunistic goals. The kind Dempsey does well. He does well.

1-0 US.

Nice work by Ching to knock it dowswn and back for CD to knock in.

Posted by: JkR | September 6, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

RCN is now just as bad as comcast. ESPN Classic (channel 29) was moved to the "digital vision" package last week. this package is the movie channels and espnc. this is a freakin joke. one hour of arguing later and here i am looking for an update.

Posted by: FreeDC | September 6, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

RCN are bamma thieves.
still 1-0 USA in the fifty fourth minute.

Posted by: dadryan | September 6, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

...not impressed with edu...

Posted by: birdy | September 6, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

he just had a great shot birdy

Posted by: chris D | September 6, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

...of course, i said i wasn't impressed with edu before his big shot...

Posted by: birdy | September 6, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

...not impressed with edu...

Posted by: birdy | September 6, 2008 9:26 PM

Really? I didn't think he was too bad....doesn't leave his feet as much as Mastro or Clark, while doing the same business.

Posted by: JkR | September 6, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

60' Oh my! DaMarcus BEASLEY (USA) rounds the Cuban keeper brilliantly. After cutting the ball back he somehow conspires to hit over with nothing but an open goal to shoot at.
58' Maurice Edu, who just signed for Glasgow Rangers, tries his luck from distance. it comes to nothing, though, for the US Olympian.
53' Pedro FAIFE (in) comes off the bench to replace Jaime COLOME (out) (Cuba)
51' HEJDUK (USA) is cautioned.
46' Alain CERVANTES (in) comes off the bench to replace Jensy MUNOZ (out) (Cuba)
The second half kicks off.
The referee brings the first half to an end.
45' +3' That's it for the first half. the whistle goes and the US head into the changing rooms with a 1-0 lead.
41' And from nothing, a USA goal!!!!!!!!!! Clint DEMPSEY (USA) sweeps up after some confusion in the Cuban penalty area, and he hammers home to the near post from eight yards out.
40' Clint DEMPSEY (USA) scores!!
37' BRADLEY (USA) is yellow carded.
35' Gads! an ugly tackle on Jaime COLOME (CUB) in midfield earns Michael BRADLEY (USA) - the coach's son - a yellow card. It's not his first, and it surely won't be his last.
33' as the first half grinds toward a close, one gets the sensation that both sides might just well be pleased with a point for their troubles.
28' Brian CHING (USA) just fluffed his lines with the best chance of the half. unable to control the ball six yards from goal, the unmarked striker can only watch as the ball trickles out for a goal kick. tsk tsk.
26' Luis VILLEGAS (Cuba) is booked by the referee.
25' The pace of the game is leaving a lot to be desired. the last time the two teams met in Havana, seven goals were scored. it's not likely we'll get anything near that tonight.
21' Carlos BOCANEGRA (USA) crashes into Cuban goalkeeper Odelin MOLINA (CUB) after a looping cross from the right from Frankie HEJDUK (USA). the attack comes to nothing in the end.
18' the match has settled into a cautious period. the Americans look to be taken aback by the quality in the Cuban team. perhaps this game isn't going to be the walkover some were expecting.
13' Clint DEMPSEY (USA) finds a channel up the right side. After bursting into the penalty area, the Fulham striker flubs his shot wide past the far post.
9' Jensy MUNOZ (CUB) tries a long-ranger of his own at the other end, but it soars over the bar after the striker spun Oguchi ONYEWU (USA) in circles.
8' A nice bit of interplay between Frankie HEJDUK (USA) and Landon DONOVAN (USA) ends with a longe-range effort from the LA Galaxy man - well off target though.
4' DaMarcus BEASLEY (USA) sees a good chance go begging. After being put clean through by Landon DONOVAN (USA), the speedy winger has the ball tackled away before he can get a shot in on goal.

Posted by: castroviejo | September 6, 2008 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Does a certain lengthy post raise copyright issues?

Posted by: The Jeff | September 6, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Lights going out - not good.

Posted by: FC | September 6, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

whats the light situation?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

FIFA says PLAY ON - it's not THAT dark...

Great save by Howard!

Posted by: FC | September 6, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

how much extra time?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

3 minutes stoppage time almost completed.

Lights seem to be back at full power now, which is still somewhat dim.

Posted by: FC | September 6, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Game Over. 1-0 USA!

Posted by: FC | September 6, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

thanks for the call FC!

can't wait to see replays

Posted by: Atl | September 6, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

After this game and the affair in Guatemala the other night, we should conclude that RFK meets the most important criterion to host important international matches; namely, a substandard lighting system.

Posted by: The Jeff | September 6, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

mad props to the dudes in bandanas who went to cuba...way to dudes have brass balls

Posted by: ap | September 6, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Ugly game - U.S. largely inept but scrape together a result against a team that would struggle against a quality HS squad. Beasley and Bradley were particularly disgraceful. Ridiculous that Freddy Adu doesn't even get a call up given the nearly complete lack of creativity and daring on the U.S. side. Yet another game where a U.S. forward fails to score. Please fire Bob Bradley.

Posted by: Hmmm | September 6, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Goff can conduct a poll to see which Cuban player most people would like to have as a defector.

Posted by: The Jeff | September 6, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Canada managed to lose to Honduras in Montreal.

Posted by: The Jeff | September 6, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I understand going to Guatemala and just trying to scrape a win because it's a tough place for us to play. I don't understand going to Havana and playing a 4-5-1. How about you show a little bit of balls Bob? We don't need to play two holding midfielders against Cuba.

Posted by: Jared | September 6, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Shocker. We win ugly, 1-0, and Mike Bradley goes the distance. Again. A win's a win, but Bob Bradley sure ain't the answer. The negative play and clear nepotism is getting old. We can still qualify with Bradley at the helm, since CONCACAF is so poor. But his approach to the game guarantees 3-and-out in South Africa.

Posted by: Reston, Va. | September 6, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Nepotism claims are so ludicrous. Are you aware that bradley scored about 20 goals last season in the eridivise? Oh, by all means, let's play ricardo clark instead.

I do think this match should make it mandatory that adu and, more importantly, altidore get seasoning. Qualification is now a certainty, we have no playmaker, and ching was pretty awful. If the US is going to make any noise in 2010, both of those guys will have to be major contributors. The current XI just will not get it done. That proposition is pretty unassailable.

Posted by: mjk | September 6, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

mjk, "Nepotism claims are so ludicrous. Are you aware that bradley scored about 20 goals last season in the eridivise? Oh, by all means, let's play ricardo clark instead."

Are you aware that Mike played a different position in Holland than he does for the USMNT? Are you aware that Mike has been mediocre at best in his recent performances with the USMNT? Are you aware that club form doesn't always translate to the international game (especially in a friggin' different role).

The nepotism claim is ABSOLUTELY valid. It's amazing that Adu and Altidore need to be brought along slowly, "seasoned"...but Bob has no qualms about throwing his OWN SON out there for the full 90 game after game after game. And the 'settling in at new teams' excuse to leave out Adu and Altidore doesn't convince since this dates back to last summer when Mike became a fixture. It's plainly obvious that Bob judges Mike by a different standard than the other young'uns.

And how about we abandon the stupid, cynical, negative, impotent two defensive mids model against crap teams like Cuba and Guatemala? That's the plain and simple answer that Bob can't seem to wrap his brain around.

Posted by: Reston, Va. | September 6, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm not convinced that it's nepotism with Bradley because Edu has also been held to a different standard than Adu and Jozy. The excuse of letting them settle with new clubs flies out the window because now both Edu and Bradley are with new clubs. Edu has flown all around the world in the past 2/3 weeks yet he still gets called up.

I think it has more to do with the fact that Bradley and Edu are both the type of player that Bradley likes. Defensive minded midfielders that aren't going to try anything special. They will pass the ball short without trying any tricks. Bradley is never going to trust Adu because he is creative and won't track back enough on defense for Bradley. There is a reason that Donovan hasn't been scoring much lately and it's because he's been forced to track back defensively. Bob will never let the creative players loose, no matter how poor the competition.

Posted by: Jared | September 6, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Serious question here. Can anyone remember the last time a senior USMNT coach trotted out a lineup that was a bit too aggressive for a meaningful game? A lineup heavily weighted toward the creative/dynamic side and things turned out poorly? Cause I can think of about a hundred that skewed the other direction.

Frankly, the riskiest lineup I can remember is a little ol' game in 2002 when BA put Brian McBride, Earnie Stewart, John O'Brien, and a couple kids named Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley on the field against a WC favorite. Anybody remember how that turned out?

Posted by: Ben | September 7, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

if dempsey puts away his breakaway instead of shanking it...

if ching just volleys that ball into the net instead of trying to bring it down...

if beasley puts in that open net (seriously? why the hell are you trying to curl it far post?)

it's 4-0... instead of 1-0...

oh well..

3 points

Posted by: Phillip | September 7, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

a win is a win. Not playing well and still 2 away wins.

I'll take it.

A win on Wednesday versus TnT essentially gets USA to the next round.

Posted by: JSF | September 7, 2008 5:15 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I may not have the greatest skills, but Im fast, seldom get beat one v. one, and Im actually starting to swing in a good cross or two each game. Better than having Orozco out there to get another stupid red card...

Posted by: Frankie H | September 7, 2008 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps Goff can conduct a poll to see which Cuban player most people would like to have as a defector
Posted by: The Jeff

I would go for the #5 on defense...Cavello or something like that.

My son asked why that Bradley guy gives the ball away so much. He was surprised that he even got to play let alone full 90. But, he understood after I told him, "That's the coaches son."
Probably nothing to that though.

Posted by: marksman | September 7, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

So, Goff, how many Cuban players asked to defect after the game? ;D

Posted by: Joseph D'Hippolito | September 8, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

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