Three Tidbits of History: USMNT-Cuba

The U.S. Men’s National Team returns to Washington, D.C. to face regional foe Cuba in its first match of the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League on Friday, Oct. 11 (7 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMás, TUDN).

Here are three tidbits of history around the series between the two nations:

Donovan Scores Four in 2003

As you will find throughout this article, the USMNT has dominated its series with Cuba, going 10-1-1 all-time.

Along with those wins, legendary attacker Landon Donovan had one of the most impressive matches of his career when he scored four goals against los Leones del Caribe during the team’s 5-0 win in the 2003 Concacaf Gold Cup quarterfinals in Foxborough, Mass.

WATCH: Donovan’s Four Goal Run vs. Cuba in 2003


Donovan’s four goals came in pairs – tallying in the 22nd and 25th minutes before Steve Ralston made it 3-0 just before halftime. The then 21-year-old went on to find the back of the net in the 55th and 76th minutes to tie the USMNT’s single-game scoring record, and he had three more clear-cut chances that could have taken his total on the day to seven, but was denied by some impressive stops from Cuba ‘keeper Odelin Molina.

Donovan became the fourth USMNT player to record four goals in a match that day, a feat that hasn’t been equaled since. See the quartet of players that have done it below:






Nov. 8, 1925

Archie Stark

6-1 W vs. Canada

Brooklyn, N.Y.


May 24, 1934

Aldo “Buff” Donelli

4-2 W vs. Mexico

Rome, Italy

1934 WCQ

Dec. 5, 1993

Joe-Max Moore

7-0 W vs. El Salvador

Los Angeles, Calif.


July 19, 2003

Landon Donovan

5-0 W vs. Cuba

Foxborough, Mass.

2003 Gold Cup

On This Day Eleven Years Ago

Interestingly, the USMNT’s home Nations League match against Cuba on Friday at Washington D.C.’s Audi Field will come 11 years to the day of the team’s 6-1 win against the Caribbean nation. That semifinal round World Cup qualifying match was also played in the nation’s capital at historic RFK Stadium.

Recently retired USMNT legend DaMarcus Beasley paced the team with two goals that day, with Landon Donovan, Brian Ching, Oguchi Onyewu and a young Jozy Altidore also adding strikes as the USA clinched its place in the final round of World Cup qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

HIGHLIGHTS: USA 6, Cuba 1 – Oct. 11, 2008


While the team routed Cuba in the match, the visitors notably ended the side’s six-match shutout streak when Hensy Munoz’s deflected effort looped over Tim Howard in the 31st minute. The run without conceding a goal stretched over 583 minutes and remains a team record 11 years later.

Ten-Straight Victories

The USMNT’s 10-1-1 record is made more impressive when you considered when the two blemishes came -- a 5-2 defeat on July 20, 1947 in the North American Football Championship in Havana and 1-1 World Cup Qualifying draw on Sept. 14, 1949 in Mexico City.

Since then, the USMNT has run off 10-straight victories against Los Leones del Caribe. The 70-year, 10-game winning streak is by far the team’s longest against any international opponent.

A full rundown of the series’ results is below:



Goal Scorers



July 20, 1947

2-5 L

E. Souza, Valentine

Havana, Cuba

1947 NAFC

Sept. 14, 1949

1-1 D

F. Wallace

Mexico City, Mexico

1950 WCQ

Spt. 21, 1949

5-2 W

Matevich (2), J. Souza, Bahr, F. Wallace

Mexico City, Mexico

1950 WCQ

Feb. 1, 1998

3-0 W

J.M. Moore, Wynalda, Wegerle

Oakland, Calif.

1998 Gold Cup

Jan. 21, 2002

1-0 W


Pasadena, Calif.

2002 Gold Cup

July 19, 2003

5-0 W

Donovan (4), Ralston

Foxborough, Mass.

2003 Gold Cup

July 7, 2005

4-1 W

Donovan (2), Beasley, Dempsey

Seattle, Wash.

2005 Gold Cup

Sept. 6, 2008

1-0 W


Havana, Cuba

2010 WCQ

Oct. 11, 2008

6-1 W

Beasley (2), Donovan, Ching, Onyewu, Altidore

Washington, D.C.

2010 WCQ

July 13, 2013

4-1 W

Wondolowski (2), Donovan, Corona

Sandy, Utah

2013 Gold Cup

July 18, 2015

6-0 W

Dempsey (3), Johannsson,
O. Gonzalez, Zardes

Baltimore, Md.

2015 Gold Cup

Oct. 7, 2016

2-0 W

Green, Wondolowski

Havana, Cuba