U.S. Soccer

USA Downs Cuba 2-0 in Historic Friendly in Havana

HAVANA (Oct. 7, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Cuba 2-0 on goals from Chris Wondolowski and Julian Green in an historic international friendly at Estadio Pedro Marrero on Friday evening.

The U.S. was dominant throughout the match, putting eight of its 10 shots on goal while keeping an organized back line that stepped up to consistently put Cuba’s forwards in an offside position. When Cuba was able to generate chances, 21-year-old U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, making his debut for the senior MNT, was well positioned to make a total of three saves and cut out a handful of developing opportunities to earn the clean sheet.

After a first half of close shots and half chances, the U.S. broke through in the 62nd minute when Wondolowski, who had come on for Christian Pulisic at halftime, pounded home the rebound from Green’s initial shot. He then returned the favor to Green by picking out the streaking winger with a pin-point pass that Green tapped home for his second career MNT goal, which provided the final margin in Havana.  

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT returns home to the familiar confines of RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. where they’ll face Oceania Football Confederation champions, New Zealand on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 8 p.m. ET (ESPN and Univision Networks).
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram; Snapchat (ussoccer_mnt)

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Chris Wondolowski, 62nd minute:
Chris Wondolowski open the scoring by putting home a point blank rebound from near the top of six-yard box. Julian Green had done well to create a shooting opportunity, but Cuba goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez parried the curling shot right into the path of Wondolowski, who made no mistake from close range, burying the rebound with a one-time shot into the dead center of the goal. USA 1, CUB 0 [WATCH]

USA – Julian Green (Chris Wondolowski), 71st minute: The USA won the ball in midfield and played it out wide to Timmy Chandler near the touchline. Chandler had time to pick out his pass and sent a long, lofted ball from the midfield stripe over the Cuba defense into the path of Wondolowski, who carried it to the endline before spotting Green making a run to the back, left post and picking him out with an inch-perfect pass that left Green with an easy tap in to the center of the net. USA 2, CUB 0 [WATCH] FINAL

NOTES:

  • The USA is now 10-1-1 all-time vs. Cuba, extending its now 10-game, 67-year winning streak against the island nation, which is the team’s longest current streak against any opponent.
  • MNT captain Michael Bradley made his 123rd appearance, tying him with former teammate DaMarcus Beasley for sixth on the USA’s all-time caps list.
  • Bradley started in central midfield with Sacha Kljestan, which was the same partnership the USA utilized in the team’s last visit to Cuba, a 1-0 World Cup Qualifying victory on Sept. 6, 2008; Bradley and Kljestan are the only players on this roster who played in that match.
  • Ethan Horvath made his MNT debut vs. Cuba. At 21 years, 120 days, he is the youngest goalkeeper to debut for the MNT since Zach Thornton came on as a substitute in the USA’s 3-0 victory against Jamaica on Nov. 22, 1994 (21 years, 43 days).
  • Julian Green made his second start of 2016 for the MNT and first since a 1-0 friendly win against Czech Republic on Sept. 3, 2014. His goal was also just his second for the senior MNT; his first being a memorable strike in extra time against Belgium after coming on as a late sub in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Round of 16.
  • Steve Birnbaum suffered a laceration to the head late in the match that will require stitches after he was caught by a high kick from a Cuba player.
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MNT Oct 7, 2016

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Cuba
Date:
Oct. 7, 2016
Competition:
International Friendly
Venue:
Pedro Marrero Stadium; Havana, Cuba
Kickoff:
4 p.m. ET
Attendance:
TBD
Weather:
86 degrees, partly cloudy 

Scoring Summary:           1             2             F
USA                                      0             2             2
CUB                                     0             0             0 

USA – Chris Wondolowski                            62nd minute
USA – Julian Green (Chris Wondoloski)    71 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Ethan Horvath; 2-DeAndre Yedlin (21-Timmy Chandler, 46), 20-Geoff Cameron, 6-John Brooks (15-Steve Birnbaum, 46), 23-Fabian Johnson; 10-Christian Pulisic (18-Chris Wondolowski, 46), 4-Michael Bradley (capt.), 16-Sacha Kljestan (14-Danny Williams, 69), 19-Julian Green; 17-Jozy Altidore (9-Paul Arriola, 69), 7-Bobby Wood (8-Jordan Morris, 60)
Subs not used: 12-
David Bingham, 22-William Yarbrough; 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Perry Kitchen, 13-Lynden Gooch
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

CUB: 1-Sandy Sánchez, 5-Josel Piedra, 4-Yasmany López, 16-Yasniel Nápoles, 11-Carlos Serrano, 6-Daniel Luis Saéz (capt.) (17-Dayron Branco, 74), 2-Roberney Caballero (12-Roberto Peraza, 76), 10-Arichel Hernández, 8-Alberto Gómez (7-Duzney Espinoza, 66), 18-David Urgelles, 9-Maykel Reyes
Subs not used: 3-Erick Rizo, 13-Eddy Gelkis Olivares, 14-Yoelvis Gonzalez, 15-Yasnay Rivero, 19-Geandris Megret, 21-Diosvelys Guerra
Head Coach: Raul Mederos
 

Stats Summary: USA / CUB
Shots: 10 / 9
Shots on Goal: 8 / 3
Saves: 3 / 6
Corner Kicks: 6 / 3
Fouls: 13 / 5
Offside: 0 / 6 

Misconduct Summary:
CUBYasmany Lopez (caution)  16th minute
CUB – David Urgelles (caution)    59 

Officials:
Referee: Jafeth Perea (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ronald Bruna (PAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Gabriel Victoria (PAN)
4th Official: Adniel Quintana Mendieta (CUB) 

Budweiser Man of the Match: Julian Green

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Five Things to Know About Julian Green

One of the more enigmatic personalities in the MNT player pool, Julian Green announced his return to the U.S. Men’s National Team picture by scoring in each of the team’s October friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand.

The MNT attacker moved from German giants Bayern Munich to second division side Stuttgart on Dec. 21, in a bid for more playing time and to help Die Roten earn promotion back to the Bundesliga.

Here are five things to know about the 21-year-old attacker:

Munich by Way of Tampa

Green was born in Tampa, Fla. to an American father and German mother in 1995. At age two, his mother moved with him back to Germany, where the future MNT attacker spent his formative years.

Growing up in a soccer-mad country, Green proved a promising prospect with youth clubs FC Miesbach and SG Hausham before stepping up to join the Bayern Munich Academy as a 15-year-old in 2010. 

Germany or USA? 

As he thrived in the club’s development system, Green began to receive invitations  from German youth national teams, playing for both the U-16 and U-17 sides in 2011. Owing to his American heritage, Green also began receiving overtures from the U.S. U-18 MNT the following year and scored in a 4-2 friendly victory against the Netherlands in September 2012.

Having signed a professional contract with Bayern Munich as an 18-year-old in 2013, the rising prospect represented Germany during qualifying for the 2014 UEFA U-19 Championship that fall. His participation in that tournament meant that he was provisionally “tied” to represent only Germany in international competition. Despite this, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann kept up his pursuit to have the American-born attacker wear the red, white and blue, and the budding attacker eventually filed for a one-time change of associations with FIFA, which was approved March 24, 2014.

Speaking about his final decision to represent the United States, Green said, “Obviously this was a big decision, and I spent a long time discussing it with my family. I was born in Florida and my father still lives there, so I have deep roots in the U.S. I’m very proud to be representing the United States.”

Two days later, Green received his first official call-up for the MNT and made his international debut as a second-half substitute against Mexico on April 2, 2014 in Glendale, Ariz.  

World Cup and "The Goal"

On May 22, 2014, Green was somewhat surprisingly named to the 23-man squad that would represent the United States at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. With just one cap to his name and turning 19 days before the start of the tournament, Green was the youngest player named to a U.S. World Cup roster since 18-year-old Joe Martinelli was part of the MNT squad at the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

An unused sub as the U.S. navigated a difficult group featuring Ghana, Portugal and eventual winners Germany, the youngster was thrown into the fire during the MNT’s Round of 16 match against Belgium. Riding Tim Howard’s impressive performance into extra time, Belgium scored two in the first half of the first additional period to put the United States on the ropes. 

Needing goals fast, Green was inserted in place of Alejandro Bedoya at the end of the first 15 minutes of extra time. It took just two more minutes for him to make good on the swap as Green impressively volleyed home Michael Bradley’s lofted ball in the 107th minute. The quick goal made Green the youngest MNT player all-time to appear and score in a World Cup match, but it wasn’t enough to keep the U.S. team alive, as they exited the tournament with a 2-1 defeat.

Returning to Bayern Munich and Loan at Hamburg

Coming off his memorable strike at the World Cup, Green returned to Bavaria where he was named as part of Bayern Munich’s first team squad for the 2014-15 season. Still young, he found it hard to gain playing time with the German giants and was sent out on loan to fellow Bundesliga club Hamburg at the start of 2015.

Things didn’t necessarily go according to plan with HSV, as Green played sparingly during his loan stint and returned to Bayern following the season. Without much in the way of first team minutes, call-ups for the senior MNT stalled, but Green still found time with the U.S. U-23 side while playing mostly with Bayern Munich’s reserve team through 2015-16.

A National Team Return 

With his last full MNT cap coming at the end of 2014, Green was recalled to the U.S. team for a friendly against Puerto Rico back in May. While the camp did feature National Team regulars Brad Guzan, Bobby Wood  and John Brooks, the week of training leading up to the match was deemed as a transitional camp for Copa America Centenario and included a number of first-time call-ups as well as players in similar situations to Green.

While it seemed his 63 minutes against Puerto Rico would be his sole action of 2016, Green made headlines again in August when he scored a hat trick for Bayern Munich in a preseason match against Inter Milan in Charlotte. Training everyday with the likes of international stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Green has continued to find it difficult to get time on the field for the club, but has still consistently made the match day 18-man roster. 

While it seemed his 63 minutes against Puerto Rico would be his sole action of 2016, Green was a late call-up to the MNT’s October camp, replacing Alejandro Bedoya for friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand.  Like Sacha Kljestan a month earlier, Green made the most of his chance, contributing to both goals in the MNT’s 2-0 win against Cuba and scoring the lone marker in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against New Zealand.

Despite showing well in his recent international outings, having to compete with the likes of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben every day in training continued to make it difficult for Green to gain minutes for Bayern Munich. With the Bundesliga hitting its winter break, on Dec. 21 the MNT attacker signed with VfB Stuttgart

Longtime Bundesliga participants, Die Roten (the Reds), were relegated from the German topflight last season, but are currently locked in a tight bid to gain promotion. As of his signing, Stuttgart sat third in the league, just two points back of first-place Eintracht Braunschweig.

A fresh start in Stuttgart should provide Green ample playing time as he works to get the club back to the Bundesliga and with eight caps and three goals to his name, the 21-year-old will hope regular minutes will make him a part of new MNT head coach Bruce Arena’s plans.


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MNT Dec 21, 2016

Julian Green Making the Most of MNT Return

Putting together a roster for U.S. Men’s National Team camp is never as straight forward as it seems. Because MNT camps almost always convene right after a full slate of club matches, the 23 (or more) players that are scheduled to come in at the beginning of the weekend are rarely the same as what eventually arrives by the following Monday.

This time around, following a mild injury suffered by Alejandro Bedoya in Philadelphia Union’s 3-2 loss to New York Red Bulls on Oct. 1, a slot opened up to bring back a player who hasn’t been heard from much in MNT circles since the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Just 19 years old then, Julian Green made a name for himself when he came off the bench in the USA’s Round of 16 match against Belgium to put home a fantastic volley in extra time of the eventual 2-1 loss. That match was just his third appearance for the National Team and it would take him nearly two full years to double his cap tally, doing so in the MNT’s 3-1 win against Puerto Rico in a transitional camp prior to this summer’s Copa America Centenario.

Following a preseason where he scored four goals for Bayern Munich, including a hat trick against Inter Milan, Green has consistently made the bench for the German giants. Training every day and having to battle for time on the field with the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Thomas Mueller, Green has yet to appear in a Bundesliga match this season, but consistently turning up in the match day 18 made a statement that led U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to recall the now 21-year-old attacker.

“This window we have two friendly games, and with a couple of players getting injured or being out and a couple of players very busy with their club environment, suddenly things open up and I said, ‘You know what? This might be a good moment to bring [Green] back and see where he’s at,’” Klinsmann told reporters on Monday.

“I called Bayern and they said, ‘You know Jurgen, if you want to bring him in, we’d be delighted. He’s doing well in training. He’s waiting for his chance.’ So he came in, and we told him the same thing we have said often: ‘Make your statement, make your impression,’ and from the first day on, he made an impression.” 

He stood out in training and stepped up in Friday’s match against Cuba. Earning just his second start in a U.S. shirt, he proved to be the most dangerous player on the field in the 2-0 win. His shot in the 62nd minute rebounded and was put home by Chris Wondolowski, then he tapped home a low cross from the San Jose Earthquakes ace in nine minutes later.

“It’s always nice to play for the U.S. National Team,” the soft spoken Green told reporters following Friday’s win. “It’s always an honor for me. I just want to do my best and score goals. I’m happy about my performance.”

If the story of an MNT player being absent from the team for an extended period only to come back and contribute in a big way sounds familiar, that’s because it also happened last month. After two years between National Team call-ups, Sacha Kljestan, who was also a late addition to the September camp, made an emphatic return to the MNT with two goals and two assists in vital World Cup Qualifying wins against St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

At the start of camp, Klinsmann challenged a number of players to follow Kljestan’s example of taking advantage of another chance with the MNT. Still with the New Zealand game to play Tuesday, it appears Green has made the most of his recall, getting back to basics with the things he’s does best.

“I think he helped himself a lot,” Klinsmann said. “Obviously he had to wait until there was an opportunity, and there are opportunities always coming along even when you don’t think they’re actually coming. “

“From the first day, every training session he went at people. We always told him, ‘Your strength is one against one. Your strength is taking people on, getting into the box, making something happen.’ And that’s what he did. It’s kind of felt like he still has that stuff at the back of his mind. You don’t have to repeat it anymore, and now it’s really nice to see that.”

 

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MNT Oct 10, 2016

Gallery: MNT Defeats Cuba 2-0 in Havana

Photos from the U.S. Men’s National Team victory against Cuba 2-0 with goals from Chris Wondolowski and Julian Green in a historic international friendly on Oct. 7 at Estadio Pedro Marrero.

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MNT Oct 8, 2016

Ethan Horvath Stands Tall in MNT Debut vs. Cuba

With competition for roster spots in World Cup Qualifying serving as the key theme for these October friendlies, the opportunity for young goalkeepers to make an impression has been made all the more significant with the absence of veterans Brad Guzan and Tim Howard.

Of the three called in, Ethan Horvath got the first crack and took full advantage, earning his first MNT cap and clean sheet in Friday’s 2-0 friendly win against Cuba. The former U-23 goalkeeper made three saves and did well to control his penalty area on a memorable day in Havana.

“Obviously it was a pretty historic match today, playing Cuba and coming down here,” Horvath said post-game. “It was amazing getting my first cap. To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to have to do too much today, but in the end I did. I’m happy that I did everything to the best of my ability and I think I can leave this trip with my head held high.”

Youngest Debuts for MNT Goalkeepers (Modern Era)

Tony Meola

0-1 L vs. Ecuador; June 7, 1988

19 years, 105 days

Kasey Keller

1-1 D vs. Colombia; Feb. 4, 1990

20 years, 67 days

Zach Thornton

3-0 W at Jamaica; Nov. 22, 1994

21 years, 43 days

Bill Hamid

1-0 W vs. Venezuela; Jan. 21, 2012

21 years, 57 days

Brad Friedel

2-0 W at Canada; Sept. 3, 1992

21 years, 108 days

Ethan Horvath

2-0 W at Cuba; Oct. 7, 2016

21 years, 120 days

At 21 years, 120 days, Horvath became the second youngest goalkeeper to debut for the MNT since 1994, with only Bill Hamid beating him by about 63 days. He’s also the sixth youngest goalkeeper to debut for the U.S. since 1988, even beating current top choices Guzan and Howard.

Horvath’s initial appearance for the MNT comes on the heels of taking part in the last two U.S. camps, where he backed up Guzan and Howard at this summer’s Copa America Centenario and September’s World Cup Qualifying matches. The Molde goalkeeper indicated that being part of those two camps helped familiarize him with the MNT back line, making for an easier transition between the U-23 and senior squads during the past few months.

Following the Cuba match, Horvath departed camp to return to Molde, allowing the opportunity for William Yarbrough, David Bingham or new addition Bill Hamid to get time in Tuesday’s match against New Zealand. The Norwegian club currently sits in fourth place in the Tippeligaen, one point out of a UEFA Europa League place next season. He returns to Scandinavia with hopes of helping his club reach European football next season, all while trying to ensure he’s part of the U.S. squad that convenes for the start of final round World Cup Qualifying next month.

“This is my third camp being called in, and playing in this game was a big positive in my favor. Doing as well as I did is very positive too,” he said. “You can’t take anything for granted though. After this game I go back to my club Molde, and we have four games left. I just do what I can do there, play as well as I can and hopefully I get called into the next games against Mexico and Costa Rica.”

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MNT U-23 MNT Oct 8, 2016
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