Five Things To Know About: Cuba

Presented By Thorne

The U.S. Men’s National Team opens play in the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League when it hosts Cuba on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. (7 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMás, TUDN).

Before the match, learn five things about Los Leones del Caribe.

Footballing History

Founded in 1924, the Asociación de Fútbol de Cuba officially affiliated with FIFA in 1932. The National Team first competed in qualification for the 1934 FIFA World Cup and achieved its greatest success when the Caribbean nation represented the region at the 1938 FIFA World Cup in France.

That appearance in France continues to stand as the baseball-mad island’s top achievement in the game, though Cuba has been one of the more competitive teams in Concacaf’s Caribbean region. Los Leones del Caribe have taken part in nine Concacaf Gold Cups, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2003, 2013 and 2015.

Cuba also won its lone CFU Caribbean Cup in 2012.

Here and Now

Having ended 2018 on a high note with qualification to the Gold Cup and League A of the current Nations League, Cuba has had a rough go of things in 2019, registering a 1-6-0 record this year. Los Leones del Caribe defeated Bermuda 2-0 in a friendly back in February but come into this month’s contest against the USA on a six-match losing a streak.

2019-20 Concacaf Nations League

Team

GP

W

L

D

Pts.

GF

GA

GD

Canada

2

2

0

0

6

7

0

7

USA

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Cuba

2

0

2

0

0

0

7

-7


Most recently, Cuba dropped both of its League A, Group A matches to Canada – 6-0 on Sept. 7 and 1-0 on Sept. 10. With another loss, Cuba will almost assuredly finish bottom of the group and be relegated to League B in the next edition of the Concacaf Nations League slated to take place in 2022.

History with the USMNT

Dating back to 1947, the series with Cuba is the USMNT’s third-longest against Concacaf nations behind only Canada and Mexico. The USA holds a commanding 10-1-1 advantage against Cuba, with the Caribbean side earning its only victory of the series in that initial match, a 5-2 win during the 1947 North American Football Confederation Championship in Havana.

Since then, the USMNT is on an 11-match unbeaten streak that dates back 70 years to a 1-1 draw during 1950 World Cup Qualifying. The USA has won each of the last 10 meetings with Los Leones del Caribe and has outscored the island nation 38-11 all-time.

Current Roster

Cuba head coach Pablo Elier Sánchez has yet to officially announce his roster for this month’s match against the United States. Below are the two lineups from Cuba’s Nations League matches against Canada on Sept. 7 in Toronto, Canada and Sept. 10 in Georgetown, Cayman Islands.

Canada 7-0 Cuba
Sept. 7, 2019
Toronto, Canada

CUB: Sandy Sánchez; Alejandro Portal, Yosel Piedra, Erick Rizo, Dariel Morejón; Jean Carlos Rodríguez (Lázaro Monzón, 54), Andy Baquero (Randys Revé, 79), Karel Espino (Aníbal Álvarez, 80), Arichel Hernández; Yordan Santacruz, Maykel Reyes

Cuba 0-1 Canada
Sept. 10, 2019
Georgetown, Cayman Islands

CUB: Nelson Johnston; Karel Espino, Yosel Piedra, Erick Rizo, Dariel Morejón (Dario Ramos, 72); Jean Carlos Rodríguez (José Armelo, 82), Randys Revé, Rolando Abreu, Arichel Hernández; Manuel Cruz, Maykel Reyes (Lázaro Monzón, 79’)

What Gregg is Saying

“We’ve watched their past games – whether that’s the Gold Cup or the Nations League games against Canada,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said about Cuba. “We have a good body of work on Cuba. The roster has turnover due to some unusual circumstances, but that’s part of it. It’s an athletic team, they have a standard level of technical ability and they will present some challenges. For us it’s about speed of play, breaking them down and trying to get the ball in front of goal as quickly as possible.”