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USMNT Makes Easy Work Of Cuba In Concacaf Nations League Opener

By Karen Price | Oct. 11, 2019, 8:03 p.m. (ET)

Weston Mckennie handles the ball against Cuba on Oct. 11, 2019 in Washington, D.C.


Friday night’s Concacaf Nations League opener for the U.S. men’s national team was over almost as soon as it started.

With two goals from Weston McKennie in the first five minutes and a third from Jordan Morris four minutes later, the U.S. men launched into a rout of Cuba in the team’s inaugural match of the tournament and cruised to a 7-0 win at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. 

McKennie, who had three goals in 15 appearances with the men’s national team coming into the game, set a new record for the fastest hat trick in men’s national team history when he scored his third goal of the game in the 13th minute to make it 4-0. It was also McKennie’s first career hat trick.

Before the first half was over, Dario Ramos Morales and Josh Sargent, who became the ninth U.S. player to reach double-digit caps as a teenager, had also added tallies to the scoreboard. The U.S. held an insurmountable 6-0 lead at the break. 

Christian Pulisic captained the team in the victory and scored the seventh goal of the game in the 62nd minute.

Morris also had three assists in the first half to tie a national team record for assists in a match. It was the first time anyone recorded three assists since Landon Donovan on April 1, 2009. 

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This was Team USA’s 13th all-time meeting against Cuba. The Americans now hold an 11-1-1 series lead. 

It was also the first of two games in the next week, with the team traveling to Toronto for a match against Canada this coming Tuesday.

The Nations League is a new tournament that intended to provide meaningful games instead of the friendlies that nations would typically be playing during international breaks.

Teams are divided into three leagues. The U.S. is one of 12 teams in League A, and the Americans join Canada and Cuba in Group A. The teams will play a home-and-home round robin. The four group winners advance to a knockout round.

In addition, the Nations League has implications for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying, as the top six teams in the FIFA World Rankings as of June 2020 advance directly to the final round of qualifying.

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.