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Jordan Morris, Josh Sargent Lead USMNT Past Cuba, Into Nations League Semis

By Karen Price | Nov. 19, 2019, 8:17 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. men's soccer team celebrates after scoring a goal against Cuba on Oct. 11, 2019 in Washington, D.C. 


Its job complete, for now, the U.S. men’s soccer team can rest easy knowing its place in the Concacaf Nations League knockout round is secure.

After beating Canada soundly on Friday night, the Americans needed only to beat Cuba on Tuesday in their match in George Town, Cayman Islands, in order to advance to the tournament semifinals. With Jordan Morris and Josh Sargent each scoring a pair of goals, they did that with a 4-0 victory to ensure their spot in the next round in June and end the 2019 schedule on a high note.

The U.S. finished with nine points, the same as Canada, in Group A but led in goal differential following Friday’s 4-1 victory over their neighbors to the north.

This is the inaugural edition of the Concacaf Nations League, a tournament featuring teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Striker Morris stayed hot for the U.S. with two first-half goals to bring his total to five goals and a team-leading six assists in 14 matches with the U.S. this season. The Major League Soccer comeback player of the year, who tore his ACL in early 2018, scored his first goal in the 26th minute, facing down the goalkeeper, using a stutter step to keep him guessing and then picking the right corner and letting the ball fly. 

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Combined with the goal Sargent scored just 34 seconds into the game after crashing the net, the U.S. was well on its way to the crucial victory. Then in the 39th minute Morris struck again. Defender Aaron Long lofted the ball from the left side to where Morris was waiting in front of the net and from mid-air he redirected it for a 3-0 lead before the break. 

Morris, who earlier this month helped his Seattle Sounders win the MLS Cup, has been part of nine of the 15 goals scored by the U.S. in the last five matches with five goals and four assists. 

Sargent scored his second goal of the game to give the U.S. another layer of insurance in the 66th minute.

The U.S. was once again without attacker Christian Pulisic, midfielder Michael Bradley and goalkeeper Zack Steffen because of injuries. They are now 12-1-1 all-time against Cuba, with Cuba’s only win coming in the very first match between the two countries back in 1947.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.