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U.S. Set for Historic Match Against Cuba on Sept. 6, Live on ESPN Classic and Galavision

U.S. Men's National Team Pre-Game Notes
2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifier
Havana, Cuba
September 4, 2008

SEMIFINAL SHOW CONTINUES IN CUBA: The journey to the 2010 FIFA World Cup resumes on Sept. 6 when the U.S. makes an historic trip to Cuba, their first in 61 years. Kickoff at Estadio Pedro Marrero is set for 8 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic and Galavision. Fans can also follow the match live on’s MatchTracker. The team traveled from Miami to Havana on Thursday afternoon to begin their unique journey, with more than 15 U.S. and international news organizations covering the event.


  • Eighteen players are eligible to dress for both the U.S. and Cuba, and must wear 1-18 for jersey numbers.
  • Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Oguchi Onyewu are the only U.S. players carrying a caution into this match. Any player accumulating two cautions in the semifinal round will be suspended for the next FIFA World Cup qualifier.
  • For Cuba, Yusvanys Caballero, Jaime Colome, Reisandry Fernandez, Jeniel Marquez, and Dany Quintero are carrying cautions.
  • Steve Cherundolo is suspended for this match after receiving two yellow cards in the USA’s 1-0 win against Guatemala on Aug. 20 in Guatemala City. Cherundolo was sent off in the 60th minute.
  • The U.S. is making their second-ever visit to Cuba and the first since 1947, when the U.S. fell by a 5-2 scoreline in Havana.
  • The teams have met twice in FIFA World Cup qualifying play, both matches coming during efforts to advance to the 1950 FIFA World Cup. Playing twice in Mexico City, the teams first drew 1-1 on Sept. 14, 1949, before the U.S. cruised to a 5-2 victory a week later.
  • Overall, the U.S. holds a 5-1-1 lifetime record against Cuba, including three shutouts.
  • The U.S. boasts a 9-2-6 all-time record against Caribbean nations during World Cup qualifying, having not lost on Caribbean soil since a 3-0 loss to Canada in Port au Prince, Haiti, in 1976.
  • Four players on the current roster appeared in the last meeting against Cuba, a 4-1 win on July 7, 2005 in CONCACAF Gold Cup group play in Seattle: DaMarcus Beasley (1), Clint Dempsey (1), Landon Donovan (2), and Frankie Hejduk [starters in bold]. The victory sparked the USA’s run to the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup title.
  • Frankie Hejduk has started in all four of the USA’s matches against Cuba since 1998, while Donovan has three appearances against the island nation. Along with the players above, Carlos Bocanegra, Danny Califf and Eddie Lewis also have stints against Cuba’s full team.
  • Midfielders Maurice Edu and Sacha Kljestan appeared in the U.S. Under-23 MNT’s 1-1 draw against Cuba in the first match of group play in the 2008 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament.
  • Three players on the roster have tallied goals against Cuba – Beasley, Dempsey and Donovan – all three scoring in the same game. Additionally, Donovan had a history-making performance against the Cubans in the 2003 edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Overall, Donovan has scored six goals in the three matches he has played against Cuba.
  • With his game-winning goal against Guatemala on Aug. 20, Carlos Bocanegra recorded his 10th career international goal for the United States and his second in FIFA World Cup qualifying.
  • Tim Howard, who was named Sierra Mist Man of the Match in Guatemala, made an impressive seven saves in the win, good enough to earn his third clean sheet in four all-time FIFA World Cup qualifying appearances.
  • Maurice Edu earned his first FIFA World Cup qualifying cap that day when he entered as a substitute to replace Pablo Mastroeni.
  • The U.S. has posted a 5-2-2 record in 2008, which includes three straight victories in FIFA World Cup qualifying, a road win against Poland and a 0-0 draw against No. 1-ranked Argentina. Overall, the U.S. has scored 17 goals while surrendering only five.
  • Michael Bradley leads the U.S. in 2008 in minutes played (647).
  • Michael Orozco is the only uncapped player on the roster. The other 19 players have at least one qualifying cap to their credit. Orozco and defender Marvell Wynne are the only players on the roster who haven't appeared in a FIFA World Cup qualifying game.
  • Donovan leads the team in FIFA World Cup qualifying caps (22), and is tied with Eddie Johnson for most goals in qualifying (8). Johnson has produced a remarkable strike rate, with eight goals in eight qualifying appearances. Johnson became the first player in U.S. history to score three goals as a substitute when he recorded a hat trick in the 6-0 semifinal round qualifying victory against Panama on Oct. 13, 2004, at RFK Stadium.
  • Johnson and Donovan are tied for third on the USA’s all-time goalscoring list in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Brian McBride is the USA’s all-time leading goalscorer in FIFA World Cup Qualifying with 10 goals scored over three FIFA World Cup cycles (1998, 2002, 2006).
  • Leagues from eight different countries are represented on the U.S. roster: Belgium, Denmark, England (4), France, Germany (3), Mexico, Scotland (2), and the United States (7).
  • The U.S. collected a 12-2-4 record in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, outscoring their opponents 35-11 while collecting 11 shutouts. The U.S. finished undefeated at home during the qualifying campaign, going 8-0-1, with all eight victories coming by shutout.

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa: 2/2 SO), Tim Howard (Everton FC: 4/3 SO)
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes: 14/2), Danny Califf (FC Midtjylland: 2/0), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96: 16/0), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew: 12/1), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard de Liege: 9/0), Michael Orozco (San Luis: 0/0), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock: 3/0), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC: 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers: 17/4), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach: 3/1), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo: 1/0), Maurice Edu (Glasgow Rangers: 2/0), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA: 1/0), Eddie Lewis (Los Angeles Galaxy: 20/3)
FORWARDS (4): Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo: 8/4), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy: 22/8), Clint Dempsey (Fulham FC: 9/2), Eddie Johnson (Cardiff City: 8/8)

*numbers indicate all-time World Cup Qualifying caps/goals

GROUP 1 AFTER 1: The U.S. sits in second place in Group 1 after MatchDay 1, behind Trinidad & Tobago based on goal differential. Keon Daniel potted a pair of goals to pace T&T to a 3-1 road win against Cuba to start the semifinal round in style, the Soca Warriors now set to host their first game of this phase against Guatemala on Sept. 6 in Port-of-Spain. When T&T head to Chicago, the Cubans will have the difficult task of visiting Estadio Mateo Flores for their away leg against Guatemala.

Trinidad & Tobago 1 0 0 3 1 3
United States 1 0 0 1 0 3
Guatemala 0 0 1 0 1 0
Cuba 0 0 1 1 3 0

TWO FOR THE PRICE OF ONE: After collecting consecutive 1-0 road victories against Barbados and Guatemala to open the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, a victory in Cuba would set two milestones for the United States. First, a win would give the U.S. three straight road victories in qualifying for the first time ever. Second, it would mark the USA’s 50th all-time win in qualifying play. Overall, the U.S. holds a 49-30-28 lifetime record in FIFA World Cup qualifying action, posting a 35-9-16 mark since 1990. In the last three qualifying cycles, the U.S. boasts an impressive 26-1-6 record on home soil.

SPEAKING OF MAKING HISTORY AGAINST CUBA: The victory for the United States in the quarterfinals of the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup added new pages in the U.S. history books, as Landon Donovan and Kasey Keller both had record-setting performances. Donovan, then 21 in both age and number, had his most prolific day ever in a national team uniform, becoming the fourth player in U.S. history to record four goals in a game as the U.S. routed Cuba 5-0 in Foxborough, Mass. Combined with his pair in the CONCACAF Gold Cup two years later, Donovan has six career goals against the Cubans. At the other end, Keller eased his way into history books as he didn't face a single shot en route to recording his 33rd career shutout, surpassing Tony Meola on the all-time list.

OFF TO A FLYING START: The U.S. has begun the rigorous road that is CONCACAF qualifying with impressive numbers, collecting an unblemished 3-0-0 record with 10 goals scored and not a single surrendered. The win against Guatemala was the first-ever in a FIFA World Cup qualifier on Guatemalan soil, and only the second victory there in 20 years. So why do we say rigorous? Check out this video of the Guatemala experience to get a little taste of life on the road.

BOB ON THE JOB: Since January of 2007 it has been the charge of U.S. head coach Bob Bradley to achieve the most important goal of any soccer playing nation: qualification for the FIFA World Cup. With 27 games under his belt, seeing 67 different players at least once, and the process of reaching South Africa in 2010 in full swing, a review of the body of work during the past 20 months points to the U.S. clearly heading in the right direction. Since the start of the four-year cycle, the U.S. has:

  • Won three straight FIFA World Cup qualifiers, all by shutout
  • Defended the CONCACAF Gold Cup title and qualified for the 2009 Confederations Cup
  • Won by the largest margin of victory in U.S. World Cup qualifying history (8-0 vs. Barbados on 6/15/08)
  • Won back-to-back games in Europe for the first time in team history (10/17/07 at Switzerland and 3/26/08 at Poland)
  • Won three straight matches on the road for the first time in team history (10/17/07 at Switzerland, 11/17/07 at South Africa and 3/26/08 at Poland)
  • Played five matches against four teams ranked in the Top 10 in the world at the time they stepped on the field against them (Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain)
  • Played matches on four continents and in two major international tournaments

All-time record: 17-7-3
Goal For: 48
Goals Against: 25
Shutouts: 12

CONCACAF: 10-0-2, 27 GF, 6 GA
CONMEBOL: 1-4-1, 7 GF, 13 GA
UEFA: 4-3-0, 9 GF, 5 GA
AFC: 1-0-0, 4 GF, 1 GA
CAF: 1-0-0, 1 GF, 0 GA

When leading at half: 10-0-1
When losing at half: 1-2-0
When tied at half: 6-5-2

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Several members of the U.S. national team made summer moves to new clubs throughout Europe and the United States. U.S. captain Carlos Bocanegra now patrols central defense for Rennes in the French first division after nearly five years at Fulham. Eddie Johnson also makes a jump from Fulham, going out on loan to English League Championship side Cardiff City. Coming off a 20-goal year at SC Heerenveen, Michael Bradley celebrates turning 21 years old by heading to Borussia Moenchengladbach of the German Bundesliga, while Danny Califf stayed in Denmark and moved to FC Midtjylland after captaining Aalborg to the Danish Superligaen title. A pair of U.S. players moved across the pond from MLS, as Brad Guzan linked up with former U.S. international Brad Friedel at Aston Villa while Maurice Edu joined DaMarcus Beasley at Scottish powerhouse Glasgow Rangers. Eddie Lewis sailed back to U.S. shores after a fruitful career in England, returning to his roots in Southern California with a move to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

SIX OLYMPIANS ON BOARD: The U.S. roster boasts several players coming off their experience at the 2008 Olympic Games. Aston Villa ‘keeper Brad Guzan is coming off an outstanding performance at the 2008 Olympic Games, earning Sierra Mist Man of the Match honoros in the gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Nigeria that eliminated the squad from the tournament. Guzan posted clean sheets in both of the USA’s second round qualifying victories against Barbados. Chivas USA midfielder Sacha Kljestan recorded two goals in China, while Maurice Edu served admirably in central defense. Since the summer of 2007, midfielder Michael Bradley has appeared in four international tournaments at both the youth and full national team levels. Marvell Wynne makes his first appearance on a full team roster since the 2007 Copa America, while Michael Orozco gets his first sniff with the seniors.

STUDIO 90 NEWS UPDATE – CUBA PRIMER: Studio 90 News is back on the trail, this time following the U.S. men on their adventures leading up to the match in Cuba. Get a glimpse of the USA’s recent history against Cuba, as well as the players’ perspective on a trip where the motto is ‘expect the unexpected’, in this latest edition of’s video news outlet.

PODCASTS GALORE: Curious to hear Bob Bradley’s thoughts on the crucial qualifier against Cuba. Want to know how Carlos Bocanegra found is way to Rennes? Wonder what the past three weeks have been like for U.S. Olympian and now Glasgow Rangers midfielder Maurice Edu. Turn on and tune in to the Sights and Sounds section of to hear the exclusive audio podcasts from the U.S national team.

THE OTHER U.S. TEAM TO GO THERE: While the full national team has not been to Cuba since 1947, a group of young U.S. players made a visit when the island nation hosted the Pan American Games back in 1991 and the U.S. Under-23 Men’s team traveled to Santiago, Cuba to participate. How’d the U.S. do? Well… they won their only gold in the history of the tournament. Made up largely of the group of players that took fourth place at the 1989 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, including U.S. Soccer legends Brad Friedel, Cobi Jones, Claudio Reyna and Joe-Max Moore, Lothar Osiander coached the team to a win over rival Mexico in the finals, going a perfect 5-0-0 in the tournament. After scoring the USA’s first goal, Reyna left the Final with an injury and gave way to substitute Moore. In overtime, Moore hammered home a free kick to give the Americans the lead and Friedel did the rest, coming up with three spectacular saves to protect the lead and help win his team its first ever Pan Am gold medal. The team scored 10 goals in five games while allowing only four. A majority of that team went on to qualify for and play in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, where they earned a hard-fought 1-1-1 record.

UP NEXT – T&T: Following the Cuba match, the U.S. jets to Chicago where they welcome Trinidad & Tobago for the team’s debut in Bridgeview, Ill. (tickets). The U.S. has an undefeated record in qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago, holding an 8-0-2 record. The two countries last met during qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, with the U.S. winning both matches. The first meeting was the opening match of the Final Round and the U.S. got goals from Eddie Johnson and Eddie Lewis for a 2-1 victory in Port of Spain, Trinidad. In the second match, Brian McBride tallied the lone goal in a 1-0 victory in East Hartford, Conn.

U.S. Schedule – Semifinal Round, 2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying

Date Opponent Result / Time TV / Goal Scorer(s)
Aug. 20 @ Guatemala 1-0 W Bocanegra
Sept. 6 @ Cuba 8 p.m. ET ESPN Classic, Galavision
Sept. 10 vs. Trinidad & Tobago 7 p.m. ET ESPN2, Galavision
Oct. 11 vs. Cuba 7 p.m. ET ESPN Classic, Galavision
Oct. 15 @ Trinidad & Tobago TBD ESPN Networks, Galavision
Nov. 19 vs. Guatemala 6 p.m. MT ESPN2, Galavision

2004 SEMIFINAL ROUND REWIND: After handling Grenada in the home and home series in the second round, the U.S. advanced to Group 1 of the semifinal phase along with El Salvador, Panama and Jamaica. Like this time around, the U.S. opened on the road when they traveled to Kingston, Jamaica. An 89th minute goal from World Cup qualifying debutante Brian Ching delivered the U.S. the sought after point away from home in the 1-1 draw with Jamaica. The ever-reliable Cobi Jones would later follow suit, netting a 92nd minute equalizer against Panama to deliver yet another important draw. At home it was a different story, as a convincing shutout against El Salvador (2-0) set the stage for a record-setting performance from Eddie Johnson in the 6-0 pasting of Panama on Oct. 13, 2004, at RFK Stadium. Johnson became the first U.S. player in history to record a hat trick as a substitute. In that match, Oguchi Onyewu earned his first taste of qualifying action. Overall, the U.S. finished the group with an unbeaten 3-0-3 record and momentum heading into the final phase.

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Asociación de Futbol de Cuba
Founded: 1924 (Joined FIFA in 1932)
Head Coach: Reinhold Franz (GER)
Best World Cup Finish: Second Round, 1938
Best CONCACAF Gold Cup Finish: Quarterfinals, 2003

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Cuba was drawn against the tiny Caribbean nation of Antigua & Barbuda for the home-and-home series of the second round, and got quite a scare when the country of 70,000 people pushed them to the limit in the opening match. A goal by substitute Leonel Duarte in the 85th minute rescued three points for the Cubans, who then coasted to a 4-0 victory in the return leg in Havana and a place in the semifinal stage.

June 17, 2008 - Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium - St. John's, Antigua & Barbuda – Second Round, First Leg

Antigua & Barbuda     3     Williams 9’, Skepple 13', Simon 80'
Cuba                               4     J. Colome 10', 74', Linares 22', Duarte 85'

ATG: Melvin James - Dave Carr (46: Tyio Simon), Marc Joseph, Garfield Gonsalves, Justine Cochrane, Gayson Gregory, Teran Williams, Kerry Skepple (62: Randolph Burton), Brian Samuel, Lennox Julian (76: Troy Mellanson), Peter Byers.

CUB: Dany Quintero - Silvio Pedro Miñoso, Yenier Márquez, Jorge Luis Clavelo, Reysendri Fernández Cervantes, Kanier Dranguet, Jaime Colomé, Joel Colomé, Pedro Faife (88: Lázaro Alfonso), Roberto Linares (77: Renier Alcantara), Jensis Muñoz (46: Leonel Duarte).

June 22, 2008 – Estadio Pedro Marrero – La Habana, Cuba – Second Round, Second Leg

Cuba                              4     Linares 9’, 53’, Gonzalves 45’+(OG), Marquez 69’
Antigua & Barbuda    0

CUB: Dany Quintero – Jeniel Marquez, Yusvanys Caballeros, Jorge Luis Clavelo, Yoel Colome, AlainCervantes (69: Lazaro Alfonso), Roberto Linares (56: Reinier Alcantara), Jaime Colome, Kanier Dranguet, Reisandry Fernandez, Leonel Duarte (64: Jensy Munoz)

ATG: Molvin James – Marc Joseph, Garfield Gonsalves, Justine Cochrane, Gayson Gregory, Teran Williams (46: Dave Carr), Kerry Skepple (64: Troy Mellanson), Brian Samuel, Lennox Julian (29: Troy Simon), Tyio Simon, Peter Byers. Booked: Byers 90’

Vs. THE U.S.: The U.S. holds a 5-1-1 lifetime record against Cuba dating back to 1947, posting three shutouts. All three shutouts have come in Gold Cup competition, where the teams have met in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2005. The U.S. has recorded 17 goals in the series, while the eight of nine goals surrendered coming in three matches prior to 1950. Nearly 50 years passed between meetings, the teams resuming the series in 1998 after last playing in a World Cup qualifier in 1949. The U.S. has twice posted five-goal performances against Cuba, including the 5-0 quarterfinal win last year and a 5-2 World Cup qualifying win Sept. 21, 1949 in Mexico City.


On the field for the USA

August 20, 2008 – Estadio Mateo Flores, Guatemala City - CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying – Semifinal Round
USA    1   Carlos Bocanegra 69’
GUA   0

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 15-Heath Pearce, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra, 6-Steve Cherundolo; 10-Landon Donovan, 12-Michael Bradley, 4-Pablo Mastroeni (13-Maurice Edu, 78), 7-Eddie Lewis (17-DaMarcus Beasley, 65); 11-Brian Ching, 8-Clint Dempsey (2-Frankie Hejduk, 65)

GUA: 1-Ricardo Trigueño; 4-Yony Flores, 14-Luis Rodriguez, 7-Mario Rodriguez, 11-Guillermo Ramirez, 9-Carlos Ruiz, 5-Carlos Gallardo, 6-Gustavo Cabrera, 10-Freddy Garcia (2-Carlos Castrillo, 66), 15-Fredy Thompson (12-Jean Marquez, 64), 16-Jose Manuel Contreras (13-Marco Pablo Pappa, 74)

On the field for Cuba

August 20, 2008 – Estadio Pedro Marrero, La Habana - CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying – Semifinal Round
CUB    1    Yenier Marquez 85’
T&T     3     Keon Daniel 22’, 59’; Cornell Glen 69’

CUB: Dany Luis Quintero; Silvio Pedro Minoso, Yenier Marquez, Jorge Luis Clavelo, Carlos Francisco, Reysander Fernandez, Jaine Colome, Hensy Munoz (Pedro Faife, 81), Luis Hermilo Villegas (Alain Cervantes, 56), Heriel Cordoves (Leonel Duarte, 56), Roberto Linares

TRI: Marvin Phillip; Cyd Gray (capt.), Makan Hislop, Dennis Lawrence, Avery John; Christopher Birchall (Khaleem Hyland, 39), Clyde Leon, Densill Theobald (Darryl Roberts, 65), Keon Daniel; Anthony Wolfe, Cornell Glen (Osei Telesford, 74)

Vs. Cuba

July 7, 2005 – Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington – 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup
USA   4   Clint Dempsey 45’, Landon Donovan 87’, 92’+, DaMarcus Beasley 90’
Cuba 1   Lester More 18’

USA: Marcus Hahnemann; Frankie Hejduk, Jimmy Conrad, Tony Sanneh; Chris Armas (capt.), Ben Olsen (Josh Wolff, 76), Santino Quaranta, Brad Davis (John O’Brien, 76), Clint Dempsey; Conor Casey (Landon Donovan 66), DaMarcus Beasley
Subs not used: Kasey Keller, Oguchi Onyewu, Steve Cherundolo, Steve Ralston
Head Coach: Bruce Arena

CUB: Odelin Molina (capt.); Reysander Fernandez, Yenier Marquez, Alexander Cruzata, Silvio Minoso; Disney Aquino, Jaime Colone, Enrique Villauruttia, Alain Cervantes; Lester More (Leonel Duartes, 57), Maykel Galindo (Mario Gil, 77)
Subs not used: Alexis Aviles, Mario Rodriguez, Gisbel Morales, Pedro Faife, Jensis Munoz
Head Coach: Armelio Garcia