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Matchnight: USA-Cuba

Greetings from RFK.

At last check, only two Cubans have disappeared from the delegation. The buzz is that one of them met family here yesterday and is driving to Florida. So if you're on I-95 somewhere in South Carolina today, keep an eye out for a 5-foot-7, 155-poundish player in his mid-twenties with a Cuban warm-up jacket.

The USA roster has been trimmed from 23 to 18. Not in uniform:
*Defender Jay DeMerit (hamstring)
*Forward Charlie Davies (undisclosed knock)
*Goalkeeper Troy Perkins
*Defender Michael Orozco
*Midfielder Danny Szetela
(DeMerit won't play Wednesday at T&T, the others are expected to travel)

One more tidbit to share: After this stage of qualifying ends, the USA will take the rest of the year off before regrouping for training camp in January at Home Depot Center. Expect a friendly late that month at HDC or another SoCal location. The final round of qualifying will begin Feb. 11. CONCACAF is expected to conduct the final-round draw in December, finalizing the pairings and locations on the 10 matchdays between February and October.

Back soon with the USA lineup.....

USA LINEUP: Howard; Cherundolo, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Pearce; Dempsey, Bradley, Kljestan, Beasley; Donovan, Ching. Subs: Guzan, Califf, Hejduk, Edu, Adu, Torres, Altidore.

As usual, you've come to the ultimate place for pregame, in-game and postgame chatter. Enjoy!

By Steve Goff  |  October 11, 2008; 4:47 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: TV, Anyone?
Next: Final Thoughts From RFK


For those of you going to the match. Remember to sing the national anthem loudly. Don't just shout "O!" lke a moron.

I'll be watching you.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 11, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Aw man! No Perkins!

I was hoping for Perkins and Adu to start since this was their old home, but Bob Bradley is not one for sentimental value.


I'm calling 3-0

Posted by: Konoha7 | October 11, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Really. Perkins has a better professional record than Guzan and starts for his club. Guzan already has his work permit.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 11, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Neither one will see the field over Tim Howard so what does it matter?

So the gameday roster shakes out as follows:

G(2): Howard, Guzan
D(6): Onyewu, Bocanegra, Cherundolo, Pearce, Califf, Hejduk
M(6): Bradley, Edu, Beasley, Dempsey, Klejstan, Torres
S(4): Donovan, Ching, Altidore, Adu

We're going to see some young talent at some stage today, and we'll see it in the context of the first choice lineup. Should be fun to see how they fit in.

Posted by: Adam R. | October 11, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Perkins over Guzan? Are u kidding??? Perkins has never played internationally at any level of his life. Guzan has nine senior caps. Get real.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Argentina 2, Uruguay 0 14 minutes in, this could be 5-0 at half

Posted by: OWNTF | October 11, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

While I'm not completely disagreeing with the selection, Guzan didn't get to have 9 caps before having his first...

Posted by: sitruc | October 11, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I want Perkins to get his freaking first cap already!!!!! Screw Brad Guzan. Perkins had a better record last year anyway.

Posted by: person | October 11, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

We win 4-0 Adu Altidore and Torres will come in the 2nd half

Posted by: Tom Dooley | October 11, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh come off the goalie thing. If Howard goes down, Hannahmann gets the call. Then Guzman, then maybe Perkins. Good to just give the kid some recognition and get him into camp. Good thing he went to Norway when he did - didn't he write mortgages?

Posted by: Beckster | October 11, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Does someone happen to have a live feed? I dont have ESPN Classic in the college dorms...

Posted by: Anthony The Great | October 11, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Anthony TG, go to bigsoccer and you'll see the links posted there.
I didn't want to post it/them here since I don't know if that will violate any rule.

Posted by: tokick | October 11, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Apparently it is on espn 360 as well

Posted by: Beckster | October 11, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anthony The Great | October 11, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know where I can watch the game online besides 360?

Posted by: Matt | October 11, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse


If you happen to see Don Gerber Baby or the Alleged Dr. Sunil Gelato, could you ask either one of them since MLS isn't going to respect the FIFA dates, could they at least schedule the MLS games AROUND the USA game?

A triple-header would have been great, 5pm game, 715 USA followed by a 930pm game. Instead we've got MLS at 8, 830 and 10pm. If the USA is winning I'm switching. If they aren't, my eyeballs aren't watching MLS tonight.



Posted by: JayRockers! | October 11, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

skinny Jesus (#16)needs to cut his hair.

Posted by: nastily | October 11, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Eddie Johnson has 36 caps. Should he be included? Nine caps or none, Guzan has played in the Olympics and 1 match against QPR in the unimportant League Cup.

I ain't saying Perkins is better than Guzan, but he is playing with regularly with his club. In lots of places, you'd want a back up to be game ready.

"""In spite of his team having a poor season Troy Perkins has consistently showed his class and the bohemians will need him to be on top of his game again here.""


Perkins over Guzan? Are u kidding??? Perkins has never played internationally at any level of his life. Guzan has nine senior caps. Get real.

Posted by: Anonymous

Posted by: delantero | October 11, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Crowd looks FANTASTIC!

Posted by: delantero | October 11, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Ugly half.

Once again, we continue to put out mediocre lineups, we'll get mediocre results.

2-1 against Cuba is a joke.

Posted by: Ryan | October 11, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha, the Galavision announcers keep referring to the "Gringo Torres"

I hope he's got some bodyguards in Mexico. Joking, well not really.

Posted by: delantero | October 11, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Finally the US won with some integrity.

Cuba is ranked #98 in the world. If the US wants to compete as a top team in the world a 1-0 over Cuba doesn't cut it.

6-1 does. Well done.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 11, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Where did Gooch come from on the last goal? That took me by surprise..

Posted by: andrew | October 11, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Personally I like it when it is 2-1. Gives the game more of an edge. It was nice to see Torres & Jozy get some minutes.

Didn't like the passing between our guys. Those sloppy give aways will kill us. Hope we can build on the team work going forward. Nice win boys. :)

Posted by: Krista | October 11, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Kljestan looked like a man among boys tonight. Very nice.

Great for Jozy and Torres.

Posted by: strago | October 11, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I gotta say, despite the win and lots of goals, it was not a fun game to attend. I wish I had my normal seats (section 207). Very different crowd tonight. A lot of people just screaming "USA USA," not knowing the players or the game, drinking WAY too much, throwing beer all over spectators after all six goals. It would have been more fun to go to a bar to watch the game. Oh well. At least we won -- that's going to be the last soccer win at RFK I see for a long, long time. Sorry for all the negativity in this post. I'll be in a better mood at the start of next season!

Posted by: soccergirl | October 11, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

20,000 really? seemed like more.. good atmosphere. nice to see a blowout for a change.

Posted by: mizage | October 11, 2008 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Mexican MNT did not have a good day, first they officially lose Torres and second they had to play Jamaica

Posted by: other results | October 11, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

seems like a lot more than 20k there. The bottom bowl was full and the top had a lot of folks.

I am thinking Dempsey should leave Fulham. Roy Hodgson is not using him at all. Maybe to Glasgow?? hmmmm Sure makes sense to me!!

Posted by: bobf | October 11, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I called it 19K+ (not really!)

and its a blow out in US TV standards, hopefully it will be more in the future. The whole ESPN bandwagon crowd was there!
From the comments I heard during the match from some of the sudience, YEAH it was a bandwagon crowd.

"O man thats a nice song, why dont they use it for the United games"


I admit it was a better crowd after the dismal crowd in Chicago. I think people got the idea that they should be supporting their national squad.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 11, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

to soccergirl - pay a little more next time - we were in 306 with the flat screen TV overhead for the re-plays etc - it was awesome. Although there were more people who knew little about soccer but it was a fun crowd.

Posted by: bob | October 11, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

You learn alot of things at international matches. For instance, did you know that some people outside of LA actually like Landon Donovan? I'm serious. They were mad when someone made fun of him. Crazy, right? What a nutty world.

Posted by: Beloved Cartoon Mouse | October 11, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

You learn alot of things at international matches. For instance, did you know that some people outside of LA actually like Landon Donovan? I'm serious. They were mad when someone made fun of him. Crazy, right? What a nutty world.

Posted by: Beloved Cartoon Mouse | October 11, 2008 10:40 PM
I agree with you but its not a nutty world its called The ESPN Bandwagon crowd.
The same fuss goes to Adu? People seem to love him.
I dont know why.

Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | October 11, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

If I remember correctly, the US also won by this same 6:1 scoreline the last time they played a WC qualifier at RFK---that was almost 4 years ago against Panama, when Eddie Johnson (of all people) scored a hat trick from off the bench.

Posted by: black shirt | October 11, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's where Gooch came from. Gooch came up from his defensive position as the ball moved up field and drifted over to the right. He raised his hand to let his team know he was there.

Meanwhile, the ball was coming toward the left, and Freddy took a pass and drove to the left corner. He beat his man and lofted a perfect cross to the head of Gooch, who was driving toward the goal.

That was an absolutely beautiful bit of soccer and was a joy to watch develop.

Mad props for the crowds roar when Torres came on and then when Adu made it onto the field. The Torres reception shows how knowledgeable the DC area fans are.

And even madder props to the supporters. That's got to have been one of the most impressive displays of the US soccer fan I've ever seen and been part of.

Posted by: seahawkdad | October 11, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

For instance, did you know that some people outside of LA actually like Landon Donovan? They were mad when someone made fun of him.
Yeah but those particular excuses for human beings are also Red Bull fans so we have to forgive their ignorance. BTW one of them tried to say that Donovan was the best player out there tonight.

My view of him is unchanged after seeing him live, and Mr. Goff would ban me if I shared them.

Posted by: John | October 11, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah that was fun on the supporters side.
Nice of BB to get Freddy into the game at "home". Nice of Freddy to come see the crowd also. My boy got to shake his hand - he is still glowing. And good to see Torres and the crowds acknowledgement of him.
Pretty crowded midfield with Adu, Torres, Dempsey, Bradley Donovan all running around in the same 20ft square box.
Seeing M Bradley in person changed my thoughts on him. He is deserving of his spot. Smart, quick, calm shows well to offensive and defensive teammates....just a nice game.
Altidore is huge. I've never seen him in person....and nimble. Nice goal.
I like the way Donovan and Beasley play together - very good work.
What was Beasley's little injury there in the 1st half? I thought he was done early.
I thought Klejstan was in over his head. Couple nice passes but overall an attack-killer. Not going to work against higher opponenets. But maybe he is progressing?

Posted by: marksman | October 11, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Good crowd tonight. The loud side really brought a lot of enthusiasm and the players appreciated it. Nice to see Gooch score at home. Last time he forced an own goal. This time he owned the goal.

What was on the banner that was raised near teh end of the match, over on the SE side? I couldn't read it from my seat in the upper deck.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 11, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The banner was a "Don't Tread on Me" thing, but it was upside down and backwards, so about two-thirds of the way they tried to real it back in. Great match, and cool to see Freddy's awesome cross on Gooch's goal. Cool kid.

Posted by: T. Henry | October 11, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Different crowd definitely, one that insisted upon standing up at anything that remotely looked like a U.S. offensive threat. I understand that people are going to stand especially on the loud side but I was in 207 next to a friend who is a DCU season ticket holder and he said that that does not happen in that section for regular home games. Crowd behavior defies logic and civility. Good atmosphere though it seemed like more than 20K.

Posted by: sbg | October 11, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Goff's report:

20,000 people show up to watch the US and some of you are complaining that they didn't display the appropriate "football supporter" etiquette? Get over yourselves.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 11, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 11, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Thought Torres looked polished for a first MNT game. He has excellent foot skills. I can see him a fixture in the middle. I never thought I would say this, but I think I will try and watch Pachuca's games now. It was a great night. Any chance anyone is going to replay the game? I think Troy should have been #2. It is his last team. You know Howard would not come out so it wouldn't have been a big deal. Hope he is suited up for the next one or two.

Posted by: VirginiaFan | October 11, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

First of all - what person on here really thinks Kljestan was a "man among boys" tonight? Really? The kid that ran in circles and made 6ft touch passes?
No, sorry, he wasn't. He doesn't deserve to be on this team, plain and simple. He's slow and can't seem to make decisions well on the field (save for the through-ball for the first goal, which was surprisingly nice). He was supposed to play in the holding role alongside Bradley today, yet he wandered aimlessly around the field for 75% of his time out there. He's a nice MLS player, but I don't see him developing beyond that.

Now, on to some other points.

Torres looked fantastic in his limited time. Great touch, good vision, and excellent passing. I'd like to see him for longer to get a feel for his passing range, as he wasn't asked to make many long passes tonight (just too short a time).

Donovan, Dempsey, and Ching need to spend some time away from this team.
Donovan spent the entire game trying to play little flicks and backheels that never had a chance of working. He thinks he's Francesco Totti, and he's not. Don't B.S. me about his goal either, because any of our players (including Ching...well...) would have walked that one in. He's not a playmaker, he's not a winger, yet we (and I fear it's Donovan calling these shots) continue to use him in those roles. Stick him high, especially if you are going to use Ching, and let him run onto balls in space. Utilize the only elite asset he has - speed. For as good a finisher as he is, he looks to pass entirely too often in front of goal.
Dempsey looks hungover or drunk or just plain worn out. He shows us about 5 minutes of worth of every game and loafs around for the other 85. Let's get Adu, Torres, Szetela, Davies or anyone else out there and see what they can do. Dempsey is a known quantity, and right now he's not offering a lot.
Ching simply isn't good enough. It's sad when a writer like Galarcep is writing an article praising Ching for the "little things", when the simple fact is he doesn't offer anything to the table. We've got younger, better strikers that offer more, so we need to use them. None of this "he links up well with Donovan" crap or "he holds the ball up well" crap. He doesn't do either of those that well to begin with, so stop using that as an excuse to have him out there. Put someone with potential out there like Altidore or Charlie Davies.

Beasley is starting to look more like his old self, but it's still really disconcerting that he's never learned to excel in a 1v1 situation. He really lacks any skill to get by a defender w\the ball, and is only useful when running onto a ball played behind the defense. Funny thing is, he'd easily be a great left back, which he played for the final 25 minutes. I'd love to see him play a string of games at that position, because he's actually a really good defender on the flanks.

Bradley looked gassed tonight. It didn't help that he was once again paired with an undisciplined midfielder, which forced him to cover a large amount of turf. In all honesty, I'm glad he picked up that yellow so he can get a break from play. He needs it, and we need him to get it.

Our back line was relatively good tonight, though they gave up a cheap one. Hard to fault Howard on that goal. I still think we should get Spector in there, preferably in Cherundolo's spot, when he's healthy. Cherundolo is fine enough going forward, but against quality competition, he's struggled to defend. While I think Pearce is somewhat similar, he's got more size than Cherundolo, so I'd keep him on. Either way, Dolo or Pearce, Spector (when healthy) needs to be on the pitch for us.

Next game, we need to see a new lineup. Send some players home, send some to the bench. I'd love to see this setup:

Let's see what kind of damage we can do with 2 playmakers and 2 quality strikers up top.

Posted by: Ryan | October 11, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey I-270! I REFUSE to get over myself!
Up high hunh? Did anyone smell anything funny in the concourse tonight?
RFK is a classic. WE should just keep the place. Repaint, cover some unused seating in advertising and improve the game day experience. Let's bunker. Fenty will never get us out alive!
Incredible evening, to be remembered for years to come! Lots of fun folks!
I stood up for Torres! Really little guy but nice touch, and less panicked than a lot of Emo's play.
You know all of us regulars should really share a beer if we show up on Thursday.... Goff included.

Posted by: dadryan | October 11, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Jamaica 1 - Mexico 0

I hope you enjoy reading that as much as I enjoyed typing it.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 11, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

There is no doubt it was a "different crowd" tonight, but it wasn't a DC United match. Of course the crowd is going to be different than a DC match. I understand the "Quiet Side" is a bit more particular about certain things and match etiquette but it's unfair to expect the same from an entirely different crowd. The Loud Side had an interesting mix of supporter groups and it appeared as though the Quiet Side had more people who were apt to standing than normal. In general (especially within the supporter sections), the crowd appeared younger than United matches. Some didn't know as much as many United fans do, but overall it was a knowledgeable crowd. Regardless, it was a good time, a decent game, and a great crowd for a US match. Some will complain there were only 20,000, but there were 20,000 US supporters and we rarely see that anywhere. Was the USSF trying to price the match so they wouldn't have to use the upper deck? $15 for parking was a little annoying although I'm sure it was a lot easier for the collectors trying to make change...

Posted by: sitruc | October 12, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I didn't get out to the concessions/souvenirs at all, but someone told me that they had ONE working ATM at the stadium, and NONE of the places other than the DCU store accepted credit cards. Is that correct? I wonder how much money they lost.

Also, I was in line behind some of Sam's Army trying to get into the stadium. They actually WOULD NOT let them bring in balloons and their bags of confetti. WTF? Are these people totally ignorant of soccer culture?

Posted by: Fairfax | October 12, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Nope didn't see any Cuban nationals on I-95 today.

Posted by: The Jim | October 12, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Never been to a DC United match, Fairfax?

Posted by: sitruc | October 12, 2008 12:36 AM | Report abuse

God I hate NJ Scum even if they are wearing the stars and stripes. We just cheered for the same team....eeew

Posted by: Tony T | October 12, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

I had a great time. I thought the crowd was excited and, overall, pretty knowledgeable. I was on the quiet side, and I stood the whole time. I don't get the folks who are bummed about the standing. It was an exciting game; the US controlled the action in their attacking half; they seemed always ready to score. Why wouldn't you stand?

Posted by: Mount Vernon | October 12, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

There was one thing I didn't like about the crowd and definitely wasn't used to... many people in some of the Supporter Groups got quiet after the Cuba goal. I'm not a fan of the "U-S-A" chant, but started that for one group after the goal since everybody was silent. I don't believe in the opposition taking the fans out of a game. I'm used to "DC United clap-clap clap-clap-clap-clap" after the opposition scores(which has been a lot recently) so it was weird when certain supporters stopped supporting.

Posted by: sitruc | October 12, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Next game we will see

Posted by: GARTLAN | October 12, 2008 2:53 AM | Report abuse

Is MSL supposed to be MLS or are there another trio of players we don't want to play for another country? Is EDU actually an acronym? Who is Oz? Are we on a first name basis with Jozy? Am I still wired after seeing my team win at RFK?

Posted by: sitruc | October 12, 2008 3:02 AM | Report abuse

Im sure that was our balloons and confetti that were not allowed in, including having our BOMBO locked in the elephant room. We never were able to get a key to open. Im not sure what RFK obsession is with ballons, who do they hurt,

Posted by: LA NORTE | October 12, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

MSL is Montgomery (County) Soccer League. Either GARTLAN plans to start 13-year-olds or he means some ex-Potomac Cougars (Gooch, Freddy, Frodo). I think Oz might be Oroszco, but isn't he an outside back?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | October 12, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

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