Friday's game is the first since relations thawed, and the relaxed mood extended to the U.S. team, which arrived on Wednesday from Miami ahead of Hurricane Matthew, which hit the eastern part of Cuba but missed Havana.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann had his players soak up the
new Havana ahead of the game at the Estadio Pedro Marrero.
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With no pressure on the USA, which doesn't begin the Hexagonal until next month, Klinsmann had his players check out of Havana, and some even showed up at a local school and met with a class.
“I played for years and wherever I went, the door opened, and there was football,” he told MLSSoccer.com after showing up for Thursday's press conference in an old convertible. “The beautiful side of this game is that it’s a global game. You learn to take people as they are.”
The USA will take on a Cuba national team that is at the crossroads. Cuba was available for the friendly because it has not only been eliminated from World Cup qualifying but also qualifying for the 2017 Caribbean Cup, which serves as qualifying for the 2017 Gold Cup.
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Ethan Horvath (Molde/NOR), William Yarbrough (Leon/MEX).
DEFENDERS (7): Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Timmy Chandler (Ein. Frankfurt/GER), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX), Fabian Johnson (Bor. M'Gladbach/GER), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle/ENG).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Paul Arriola (Tijuana/MEX), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland/ENG), Perry Kitchen (Hearts/SCO), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Christian Pulisic (Bor. Dortmund/GER), Danny Williams (Reading/ENG).
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Bayern Munich/GER), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER).
GOALKEEPERS (4): Sandy Sanchez (Las Tunas), Diosvelis Guerra (Artemisa), Delvis Lumpuy (Villa Clara), Geandri Megret (Guantanamo).
DEFENDERS (10): Daniel Alarco (La Habana), Dayron Blanco (Las Tunas), Yaisniel Napoles (Camaguey), Carlos Domingo Francisco (Santiago de Cuba), David Urgelles (Guantanamo), Yasmani Lopez (Ciego de Avila), Erick Rizo (Santiago de Cuba), Yosel Piedra (Villa Clara), Eugenio Palmero (Sancti Spiritus), Andy Baquero (La Habana).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Daniel Luis Saez (La Habana), Alberto Gomez (Guantanamo), Roberto Peraza (La Habana), Arichell Hernandez (Villa Clara), Eddy Saname (La Habana), Osmany Capote (Villa Clara), Roberney Caballero (Villa Clara).
FORWARDS (5): Duxney Espinosa (Camaguey), Eddy Gelkis Olivares (SCU), Maykel Reyes (Cruz Azul Hidalgo/MEX), Yoelvis Gonzalez (Villa Clara), Yasnai Rivero (La Habana).