Overcoming challenging conditions, the U.S. men’s national soccer team traveled to Cuba and emerged with a 2-0 victory Friday afternoon. Played in Havana’s Estadio Pedro Marrero, the match was the first friendly since 1947 between the two sides on Cuban soil.
Playing on a ragged pitch that led to hopping, skipping passes and made fine ball control difficult, the Americans finally found the goal in the 62nd minute. Cuban goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez parried away a shot on frame from Julian Green, but the rebound landed at the feet of Chris Wondolowski, whose volley put the U.S. up 1-0.
Nine minutes later it was Green who put the ball into the net, the recipient of a perfectly slotted ball from Wondolowski that Green tapped in from less than six yards out for his second international goal.
Earning his first appearance with the senior national team, 21-year-old U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath posted a clean sheet, but it was not without its moments, as twice the Cubans rocketed shots off the goalposts. The Cubans have been held scoreless in 10 of their last 11 matches.
The win extends the United States’ winning streak over Cuba to 10, a string that began in 1949 with a 5-2 win in Mexico City during World Cup qualifying. The streak is the team’s longest in terms of both games (10) and years (67). With Friday’s result, the U.S. now has outscored Cuba 37-5 in their last six meetings.
The Americans will return to action on Tuesday, Oct. 11, when they will face New Zealand in a friendly at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., in a final tune-up one month before facing Mexico on Nov. 11 to open the hexagonal round of World Cup qualifying in Columbus, Ohio.