Tuesday, October 14, 2008

USA-Cuba @ RFK

This past Saturday, the United States took on Cuba in the 4th World Cup Qualifier for both teams. The game took place at RFK Stadium right here in our nation’s capital, so you know I had to be in the building. This game was important for the U.S., as a victory secured their place in the final hexagonal qualifying round that will start next year. And victory was attained in huge fashion, with the U.S. torching Cuba 6-1. The scoring started with DaMarcus Beasley scoring in the 10th minute. He then got his 2nd goal in the 30th minute. Cuba’s Jenzy Muñoz cut the U.S. lead in half shortly thereafter. In the 2nd half, it was all U.S.A., with Cuba being a man down after Colomé was sent off in the 41st minute after attaining his second yellow card. Goals by Landon Donovan, Brian Ching, Jozy Altidore and Oguchi (Gooooooch) Onyewu capped the 6-goal effort.

The players played really well. Notable stars included Beasley (the Man of the Match), Sacha Kljestan, Altidore and Adu, among others. Beasley looks to be back in his old form, and he was all over the place scoring goals. Kljestan had an excellent game. He assisted on two goals, and he was pure gold in the midfield. Altidore and Adu were substitutes in the middle of the 2nd half, and they did not disappoint the raucous crowd of 20,293 who were there to see them. They gave a taste of why the future of USA Soccer may just be the now as well. They were all over the place, their pace was awesome, their chemistry was great, and they both made contributions: Altidore with the goal and Adu assisting Gooch’s goal in stoppage time. Howard was a stalwart, as usual, between the pipes. The lone Cuban goal was a tremendous shot that deserved to go in. But, the U.S. did their job, and now they can play some young talent against Trinidad & Tobago tomorrow night.

The crowd was really into it, so loud and packed that we were shocked that the official attendance number was only 20,293. The entire lower bowl of RFK was full. Sam’s Army was rocking the entire night, and yours truly was smack in the middle of it. There with two of my friends and my friend’s brother, we really had a good time. Now, the U.S. can rest some of its big guns, play some of its younger talent, and use these last 2 group stage qualifiers to prepare for the hexagonals.

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