Commentary

Cuba-USA: Men's Concacaf Nations League Player Ratings

USA-CUBA EXPRESS:
Nov. 19 in George Town, Cayman Islands
Cuba 0 USA 4. Goals: Sargent 1, 66, Morris 26, 39.

Cuba hosted the USA in the Cayman Islands and Coach Gregg Berhalter's crew coped well with the cow pasture conditions, hitting the net 34 seconds after kickoff to ensure there would be no drama against the world's 179th ranked team. The 4-0 win on Thursday comes after the USA beat Cuba, 7-0, at home. In comparison, Group A rival Canada had mustered only a 1-0 win over Cuba in the same stadium and a 6-0 win in Toronto. The U.S. victory, on the heels of its 4-1 home win over Canada, sends it to the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League Knockout Round in June 2020.


USA PLAYER RATINGS
(1=low; 5=middle; 10=high.)

GOALKEEPER

Brad Guzan dived to stop a low deflected shot in the first half and a header in the second, securely handling two Cuban threats that posed minimal danger. His footwork on back passes impressed on the bumpy field.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Brad Guzan (Atlanta United) 64/0 (35)

DEFENDERS

Daniel Lovitz led the game in fouls committed with four, but also in fouls suffered. After one those fouls, he delivered a dangerous free-kick cross. While he kept pressure on the Cubans moving up the left wing, DeAndre Yedlin did so, but less effectively, on the right wing. On the third goal, on a corner kick, Aaron Long had a header blocked, a low pass cleared, then struck a pass that deflected off Jose Almelo and was goal-bound as Jordan Morris poked it over the line. Captain Tim Ream led well. He held down the fort as his three backline mates attacked frequently. He headed away a free kick cross, shut down wing play to cover for Yedlin, and passed crisply.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
5 DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG) 62/0 (26)

7 Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG) 40/1 (32)

6 Aaron Long (NY Red Bulls) 16/3 (27)

6 Daniel Lovitz (Nashville SC) 13/0 (28)

MIDFIELDERS

Cristian Roldan
covered lots ground and served as the main connector as the USA had 71% of the possession. He met Lovitz's free kick in the 38th minute with a diving header that provided the best non-goal highlight of the game. He delivered a brilliant chip to the wing that Tyler Boyd wasted. Weston McKennie passed the ball to Long on the third goal, and was in on the passing sequence for goal No. 4. His close-range volley in the second half missed the goal by embarrassing height. Jackson Yueill sent the perfect cross-field pass to Morris on the second goal.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Weston McKennie (Schalke 04/GER) 19/6 (21)

6 Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes) 6/0 (22)

7 Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders) 19/0 (24)

FORWARDS

Josh Sargent prevented goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez from grabbing Paul Arriola's low pass near goal line to get the USA on the board super early. Sargent scored his second goal with a deft left-footed shot on the first touch. With five goals and four assists, Jordan Morris has been part of half of the USA's 16 goals in the last five games. Before his poached goal, he finished calmly from close range -- and made life tough for the Cuban backline before exiting at halftime.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
7
Jordan Morris  (Seattle Sounders) 38/10 (25)

7 Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER) 12/5 (19)

6 Paul Arriola (D.C. United) 32/5 (24)

SUBSTITUTES

Reggie Cannon's overall sharp showing included a cross that Tyler Boyd met wide of the far post and volleyed with a clever flick to Sargent for the fourth U.S. goal. Upon entering in the 69th minute,  Alfredo Morales failed to beat Sanchez from close range with his first touch and was lucky not to be called for a penalty-kick foul a minute later.

Player (Club) caps/goals (age)
6 Tyler Boyd (Besiktas/TUR) 10/2 (24)

7
Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas) 10/0 (21)

4 Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Duesseldorf/GER) 16/0 (29)

TRIVIA. The USA's only loss to Cuba came when they met for the first time. Cuba won, 5-2, in Havana, in 1947. The second meeting, in a Mexico City-hosted World Cup qualifier in 1949, ended, 1-1. Since then, the USA has won 12 straight.

Nov. 19 in George Town, Cayman Islands.
Cuba 0 USA 4. Goals: Sargent 1, 66, Morris 26, 39.
Canada -- Sanchez; Rizo, Morejon, Espino, Ramos, Almelo (Perez, 60); Abreu (Reve, 83), Rodriguez, Hernandez, Paradela; Reyes.
USA -- Guzan; Yedlin (Cannon, 60), Ream, Long, Lovitz; Yueill, Roldan, McKennie (Morales, 69); Arriola, Morris (Boyd, 46), Sargent.
Yellow cards: Cuba -- Morejon, 34; USA -- none; Red cards: none.
Referee: John Pitti (Panama).
Att.: 1,966.

Stats:
Cuba/USA
Shots: 6/20
Shots on Goal: 1/8
Saves: 3/2
Corner Kicks: 3/10
Fouls: 9/13
Offside: 1/3
Possession: 29%/71%

3 comments about "Cuba-USA: Men's Concacaf Nations League Player Ratings".
  1. Bob Ashpole, November 20, 2019 at 5:27 a.m.

    I was happy with the front line performance in the first half.

    I was disappointed in the middle line's performance. I think they underperformed as a unit, although I thought Yeill's individual performance was not at fault. Some of Roldan's passes horrified me, not because of poor execution but because of the stupidity of the tactical choice.

    The backline got such a light workout that I can't conclude anything. It is appropriate that Mike commented on their attacking play rather than their defense. 

    Guzan performed well.

    The team's performance doesn't say anything good about the coach. Against a minnow, you would expect to see the coach's tactical vision for the team executed perfectly like during a training exercise, but I didn't see anything that I liked against Cuba while we possessed the ball. Pulisic's absence had no impact on the way the US played. For minnows like Cuba, the substitution of Morris for Pulisic at left wing is insignificant. 

    While this team demonstrated competence at beating minnows, they played a dull and predictable game, which I credit to the midfield. This match tells me nothing about what the team will do against the weaker competition in the hex, much less Mexico. All I can do is hope that everyone is available for selection and healthy next year. 

  2. Kent James, November 20, 2019 at 11:03 a.m.

    The US team did what they needed to do, and they should get credit for that.  They played a weak team in a distant land on a crappy field with a lousy atmosphere.  Welcome to CONCACAF.  I think's Mike's ratings are about right.  Guzan had to make some surprisingly tough saves (always difficult when you don't have much to do). I didn't see the dominance of Roldan (though the diving header was sweat, and had it not been directly at the keeper, would have been a great goal).  Obviously they will be put to a greater test against stronger opposition, but you can only play against the team that's on the field, and we did that.  

  3. beautiful game replied, November 20, 2019 at 6:56 p.m.

    K.J., if you're happy so be it. Decision-making and making things happen are not part of the package.

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