USA overcome slow start to top Cuba, book spot in Gold Cup quarterfinals

Chris Wondolowski, Joe Corona

by IVES GALARCEP

There is no other way to describe the U.S. Men’s National Team’s start vs. Cuba on Saturday than a slow start.

Expected to dispose of Cuba with relative ease, the American started their Gold Cup match looking disjointed and vulnerable, and the Cubans took advantage, scoring the opening goal to shake up the U.S. and leave the crowd at Rio Tinto Stadium silenced.

That Cuba goal provided a much-needed wake-up call for the Americans, who sharpened up before the end of the first half before going on to dominate the second half, rattling off four unanswered goals in a 4-1 thrashing of Cuba on Saturday.

A Landon Donovan penalty helped tie the match before halftime, while Joe Corona gave the U.S. the lead for good with a curling strike from the top of the box in the 57th minute. Chris Wondolowski came off the bench to score a pair of insurance goals, taking his goal total to six in three matches.

The victory improved the U.S. to 2-0 in Group C play, securing their place in the quarterfinals. They are now assured of playing in one of the quarterfinal matches in Baltimore on July 21st.

The United States got off to a rough start as the wholesale lineup changes made after their win vs. Belize left a team that took some time to find a rhythm. Cuba defended well early on and broke through with a goal of their own when Ariel Martinez used his speed to blow past Edgar Castillo on the right wing before sending a pass in to Jose Alfonso, who beat Oguchi Onyewu to the pass before slotting it home.

Cuba nearly found a second goal soon after, with Martinez beating Castillo yet again, but the U.S. defense avoided the threat.

The Americans equalized just before halftime when Donovan and Edgar Castillo combined on a sequence that sprang Castillo in the area. A Cuban defender stuck a foot out to bring down Castillo, leading to a penalty call. Donovan slotted the penalty home to equalize just before halftime.

The second half was a completely different story, with the U.S. dominating play throughout. Corona opened the floodgates in the 57th minute when he latched onto a loose ball near the penalty arc and curled a 19-yard shot past Odelin Molina to make the score 2-1.

Wondolowski did the rest, making a near-post run to finish off a perfect low cross from Kyle Beckerman in the 66th minute. He added his second in the 85th minute when Castillo chested a Jose Torres pass into his path, and Wondolowski finished cleanly for his Gold Cup-leading fifth goal of the tournament.

The second-half meltdown was eerily similar to Cuba’s Gold Cup opener against Costa Rica, which saw the Caribbean squad hold the Ticos to a scoreless draw in the first half before collapsing in an eventual 3-0 loss.

Things will get much tougher for the U.S. now as they face Costa Rica on Tuesday in East Hartford, Connecticut. The Ticos are unbeaten since the memorable World Cup qualifying loss to the United States on March 22nd in Commerce City, Colorado. The match that will be known forever as the ‘Snow Game’.

What did you think of the match? Which U.S. players impressed you the most? Like the U.S. team’s chances against Costa Rica?

Share your thoughts below.

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131 Responses to USA overcome slow start to top Cuba, book spot in Gold Cup quarterfinals

  1. Mike says:

    Started from the bottom…..

  2. biff says:

    A key factor of the poor first-half showing was Shea’s ghastly performance, basically creating a black hole on the left wing that threw the team off balance. Shea really does not even deserve to be on the bench for this Gold Cup and should be sent back to Stoke to work on his game. Not fair to other guys who are more deserving of a spot to have him on the USMNT roster at this time.I truly wish Shea all the best and hope he can get it together and win a spot on the Stoke roster.

    • Josh D says:

      I agree. I thought Shea was dreadful. Which is to be expected considering he’s been out so long and has had no preseason. After the group stage, he’ll meet back up with Stoke and begin training. It’s a pity, after his outing with Guatemala, I thought he’d be a force down the left.

      Saying that, I also thought Holden had a rather invisible first half. Not only did Mix come on and start dictating play, Beckerman became noticeably better. I still hope we see a Mix/Holden combo against Costa Rica. I just thought Holden’s early second half substitute was warranted.

      I am a bit concerned. While I appreciate that Klinsi is willing to make changes when need be, I don’t like that this is the second game in a row when he has made those changes during halftime. That means he’s not getting the right XI out there in the beginning. Let’s get it together Klinsi.

      And Wondo… How can you bench him now? Except for THAT cringe worthy miss.

      • SanFran415 says:

        That’s a bit unfair to the coach.

        There’s no way a coach can know a player is all of a sudden going to have the worst half of his professional career. A coach can only do so much. The players have to deliver. Brek Shea… I mean come on nobody would have expected what happened on the field.

        And more importantly–this was the 3rd game in 8 days. Last year people hounded him for not giving the starters a break over the run up to a lot of games in a row. Now he’s heavily rotating players when he can and people are hounding him again.

        It’s a good thing he doesn’t listen to fans.

        • biff says:

          But Shea also did not look good during his 30 minutes against Belize, certainly not a performance that should have jumped him to the head of the line to start today.

          • beachbum says:

            appears coach wants him to succeed and believes in him, which is how it goes, but he looked rusty at best in both performances, and as others have already posted different adjectives at worst

            Beckerman repaid coach’s belief in him. no one gets them all right. I’d bet we don’t see Shea again tho

          • TomG says:

            Shea has GOT to improve his first touch. It simply awful.

        • Roy says:

          Klinsy can always watch Shea to see how he is doing in training. This was Cuba, not Spain. Maybe he figured Cuba would be so easy that putting Shea in would not be a liability.

          If you want to blame fellow fans, the common problem is basing opinions on players over a small number of games. Convey used to be the future savior. For awhile, Kljestan was the future. And Shea was the future. Someone has a run of a few games and it is beer goggles time. We need more time to see how Shea and other young guys pan out. Guys like Beckerman and Wondo–older guys-don’t have that kind of time.

      • biff says:

        In basic agreement with your points. Holden’s performance was weak, did not look confident at all and some of his passes were way off the mark. The one point I disagree with is starting Mix/Holden against Costa Rica after his performance today. I would go on the side of caution and revert back to Holden being a second-half sub. No reason to push to hard and fast. I would slow back down.

      • JB says:

        also, to be fair to holden, everyone was misplacing passes for the majority of the first half because of the 10 minute downpour. Passes that went out in the first half were kept in play during the second because the field dried up.

      • KutamaObama says:

        To me, apart from Landon Donovan, I think Mixx Diskerud, when he came in for Stuart Holden, he stabilized the midfield by spraying balls with accurate passes (something Stuart couldn’t do in the 1st half). Most of the passes that Mixx made was forward, rather than backwards (at least 75% of his passes) & I think that is why Jurgen brought him in because Stuart couldn’t do it hence the tie game at halftime. Jurgen wanted an attack minded midfield so Mixx was his answer, he stabilized the midfield & that helped Kyle Berkerman have a better game in the second half because he sorta sucked in the first half. To me, Mixx was the man of the match for the second half but for the whole match, I’ll pick Landon.

        • Chris says:

          Um…you’re wrong about Beckerman in the first half. He was the best player on the field in the first half, and made up for a lot of Holden’s sloppy (albeit waterlogged) passes. And he got better in the second half. You must’ve been watching a different game, because Beckerman was the most complete performance of the day over 90 minutes. Landon blew a crystal clear opportunity on an open net from the top of the 6 in the second half…how’s that MotM quality?

      • Jbart65 says:

        Criticism of Wondo is odd. He is not being looked at by JK as a starter. Just as a potential late game option off the bench in a WC and as someone to push the starters. Wondo knows how to score, period. Not many US players have his feel for the game around the box.

        Ask yourself: if it is easy to score against poor competition why aren’t more players doing what Wondo does? Answer: it ain’t easy.

  3. elgringorico says:

    Will US play a full strength squad against the Ticos? There is no chance of facing Mexico in the quArters right?

    • Brad C says:

      If the USA finish 1st then we play the 3rd place team from groups A or B. Mexico is in group A and could get 3rd place still. Group B is up in the air.

      If we finish 2nd in the group then we play B1 which is probably going to be Honduras.

    • Bac says:

      Considering how JK rotated a number of starters and subs to keep legs fresh, I think we see his preferred starting lineup from here on. I think he wants to win to get the no. 1 seed. Now I don’t know what his preferred starting lineup is, but I don’t think he holds anything back from here on

  4. SanFran415 says:

    So Chris Wondowlowski’s chances of sitting on that plane to Brazil are increasing at an exponential rate. I’m thinking he keeps this up with the full team in Qualifiers.

    Shea did himself no favors.

    Beckerman was everywhere as always, breaking up tackles and starting the attack.

    • Amru says:

      Shea did no one any favors.

    • biff says:

      am I really agree on all three points? gee whiz, i think i am

    • downintexas says:

      Lets give Wondow some games against some WC quality teams, but yes he is earning some playing time in quals and some European friendlies. Same with Beckerman. Hope they keep playing well against better teams. But they got to start somewhere

      • tommy says:

        With so many talented and young midfield options, its hard to want to see Beckermann given more opportunities. He has 1 good pass in each of the last two games, and maybe breaks up a play or two. Other than that, it seems like the majority of his passes are backwards and if we are in a tough game, as soon as the ball comes to him, pass it to a defender without a second thought of creating something. I know he is in there for defense, but to play him against anyone than CONCACAF teams would be a poor choice.

      • Lost in Space says:

        Wondo may have earned a chance with the 1st team (likely as a sub), but Beckerman is at a possition that is the deepest. Unless there are significant injuries at CM this tournament is likely to be the last time we see Beckerman on the team (excluding the none FIFA date matches like Camp Cup Cake). It’s not a slight against him….but in all reality who does Beckerman beat out….Jones, Bradley, Edu, Mixx, Holden. Then there is D. Williams & Torres who will also be on the outside looking in.

    • Josh D says:

      I’m not a big Wondo fan. He shouldn’t be benched in this tournament from here out though; he’s earned the start. But to get to the World Cup? Let’s see him finish opportunities against better teams than Guatemala, Belize, and Cuba please.

    • Paul Miller says:

      I’m not sure about that exponential rate bit. Sure, Wondo has been scoring a bunch of goals, and that’s great. And it certainly puts him back on the radar for bigger things. But those goals were against some fairly low-level competition. Three of them came with the defense seemingly trying to help him out.

      • Tyrone says:

        If it was that easy for our forwards to score goals against such “low level competition”, then we’d have more than Wondow and Donovan with multiple goals. It isn’t that easy, of course.

      • GW says:

        The only way to answer the question all of you have about any of these Gold Cup/World Cup hopefuls is to play them against the tougher teams. The exception is of course Landon.

        Wondo has failed to score for the US against weaker opposition before.

        Wondo is scoring regularly now probably because:

        1. The US is playing well and he has the benefit of playing alongside a very hot Donovan who is drawing attention from him at the same time that he is providing him with great balls. Think of the Keane- Donovan partnership at the Galaxy.

        2. This is his first extended run of games.

        Can he do this against tougher competition? He should be able to but there is only one way to find out.

        Wondo’s game is all about losing his defender and making them worry about where he is. This benefits both him and anyone else who is attacking. Those unmarked tap ins from six yards are well earned because they usually are the result of his movements all throughout the course of the game.

        Top class defenders may be better at tracking and shutting down Wondo than the Cubans but that still leaves openings for the other US attackers. It is also worth remembering that after an MLS all star game, John Terry made the remark that Wondo’s movement was a nightmare for him to track, so there is one credible high level endorsement.

        And at least two of his goals, both from Beckerman, were the result of great skill in redirecting a hard cross. Those goals would have gone in against anyone. Those who say Wondo is unskilled are not paying attention and certainly don’t understand what is involved in playing the position. JK certainly does.

        Obviously, it is a case by case basis but if everyone is willing to give places on the World Cup team to Mix and Holden, both of whom have never played this well for the USMNT against tougher opposition, then it would be hypocritical to deny Wondo who at least would fill a much greater need, back up to Jozy.

        However if you put it to JK he’d probably say check back with him in about 10 months.

    • Kevin says:

      You people need to calm down. Wondo has been tearing it up against nobodies. Lets wait and see how he does against better players in the quarters and semis, but even then he has the mid season rhythm most other guys don’t.

    • Michael says:

      Problem with saying “Wondolowski is in picture for Brazil” is that Guatemala, Belize, and Cuba will not be possible opponents at that point. Let’s see how Wondo does against Costa Rica or Honduras before we put him on the plane to Rio.

      • SanFran415 says:

        I said chances and that he’d continue during more important games.

        You can only score against who you play.

      • Tyrone says:

        There’s a problem with saying Wondo is “in the picture”?

    • Chris says:

      Slow your roll…Wondo’s still not a forward who can hold up the ball, still doesn’t have the size and strength to contend with top-class international defenders, and has never been a guy who creates chances for himself of any of his teammates. His gift is in getting in dangerous positions where – IF he gets good service – he can capitalize. Wondo’s goals almost always – probably at least 85% of the time – follow this pattern: cross into the box, Wondo’s first or second touch is a shot. ALL HE EVER DOES IS SHOOT. Yes, that sometimes means lots of goals, but against stiffer competition, he won’t have those kinds of opportunities. He’s certainly not booked his ticket yet.

      • Aero says:

        I’m one who is very excited about Wondolowski getting another chance with the USMNT- and seeing him run with it this time. Too many commenters have written him off, claiming he had his chance and failed. What they don’t realize is that he had only a very small trial, prior to this current run he had only had 9 caps and NEVER played a full game. He had only 4 starts but never played more than 64 minutes. And only one of his 5 subs was substantial playing time. But there is no denying he failed to take advantage of these limited opportunities… it’s nice to see him do it this time…

        Obviously he will never displace Dempsey and Altidore as the key strikers on this team, but he has certainly put himself back in the conversation as a candidate for the World Cup roster. He’s outplaying Gomez right now. I think he’s right there with Gomez, Boyd and Johnson for the first sub off the bench, definitely ahead of Agudelo…

        Given that his scoring in MLS is down this year I was really surprised that Klinsmann put him on the Gold Cup roster and has been playing him. It will be interesting to see if he gets a chance against the tougher teams coming up…

      • GW says:

        “ALL HE EVER DOES IS SHOOT. Yes, that sometimes means lots of goals, but ….”

        But what?That is the most ridiculous crticism of a striker I’ve read in a while.

        • Roy says:

          I can agree with you somewhat. But we know there is more to the game than scoring. How many times have we seen Altidore, Gomez, etc. not get service? You can’t sit down and wait until you get service. McBride was valued for his defensive work on corner kicks, for example. And what if Wondo goes up against a dominating CB, then what?

          We just need to see him against a variety of competition.

          • Aero says:

            I hope he gets the chance. I think Klinsmann likes strikers who score but at this point he still has only played the full 90 once in his USMNT career.

          • GW says:

            You ask for too much. McBride did not start for his work on defense.Watch Chicharito at Man U and you’ll see scoring is all he does.

            There are no strikers in the current US pool who can beat a Spain or Brazil, for example, all on their own. If the US is not creating scoring chances for its attacking players it will lose or tie the game.

            So if Wonodw can replicate his best form against the top teams JK will take that.

            With the exception of LD, the only way to answer the question everyone has about any of these Gold Cup/World Cup hopefuls is to play them against the tougher teams.

            Wondo has failed to score for the US against weaker opposition before.

            Wondow is scoring regularly now probably because:

            1. The US is playing well, a carryover from the qualifiers and Wondo has the benefit of playing alongside a very hot Donovan who is drawing attention from him at the same time that he is providing him with great balls. Think of the Keane- Donovan partnership at the Galaxy.

            2. This is his first extended run of games.

            Can he do this against tougher competition? He should be able to but there is only one way to find out.

            Wondo’s game is all about losing his defender and making them worry about where he is. This benefits both him and anyone else who is attacking. Those unmarked tap ins from six yards are well earned because they usually are the result of his movements all throughout the course of the game.

            Top class defenders may be better at tracking and shutting down Wondo than the Cubans but that still leaves openings for the other US attackers. It is also worth remembering that after an MLS all star game, John Terry made the remark that Wondo’s movement was a nightmare for him to track, so there is one credible high level endorsement.

            And at least two of his goals, both from Beckerman, were the result of great skill in redirecting a hard cross. Those goals would have gone in against anyone. Those who say Wondo is unskilled are not paying attention and certainly don’t understand what is involved in playing the position. JK certainly does.

            Obviously, it is a case by case basis but if everyone is willing to give places on the World Cup team to Mix and Holden, both of whom have never played this well for the USMNT against tougher opposition, then it would be hypocritical to deny Wondo who at least would fill a much greater need, back up to Jozy.

            However if you put it to JK he’d probably say check back with him in about 10 months.

  5. Sushant Rao says:

    Pairing of Holden & Beckerman didn’t work. Stu may be better as a sub
    Corona was good but I wanted to see Bedoya. Hopefully, against Costa Rica
    Shea was a disaster. Inthought he may get subbed in the 1st half! Torres was good but I don’t like him on the wing and I think he’s been passed in the pecking order for CM
    Castillo scares me as a LB. I think DMB as lb and Castillo as Lm as promise
    Orozco Fiscal did well, but Gooch was just ok (should have done better on the goal and almost gave up a penalty). I think. Goodson / Fiscal pairing is the best option right now
    Beltran didn’t do much for me (and almost got beat for a goal), but neither did Parkhurst
    Herc was good and LD was class. Wondo was fine but he should have had at least one more goal from LD’s pass

    Against costa rica, I’d go with:
    Herc – LD
    Castillo – Mixx – Corona / Bedoya
    Beckerman
    DMB – Orozco Fiscal – Goodson – ????
    Raimundo

    No idea who should be RB. Too bad Bedoya can’t play there

    • Ben James says:

      Pretty hard to justify not starting Wondo. I think I’d prefer Parkhurst as RB. He’s better than he’s shown so far and I have a feeling Klinsmann prefers him as well.

      • RobsterCraw says:

        I hope that we can beat the Ticos and then rest LD against the first knockout round opponents. I kinda wish LD had been rested here, but oh, well.

    • biff says:

      yeah, Sushant Rao, i agree with Ben James. Speaking as a big fan of Herc, I don’t see how Klinsmann cannot start the red-hot Wondow against Costa Rica. I do agree with you that better for Holden not to start and come in the second half. i also want to see Corona continue starting. You can see the kid growing every game and especially after beauty of a goal today I want to see him start against Costa Rica.

    • JG says:

      I am not a Torres fan by any means. I think in the center of the park he has been dreadful. But …….he has looked good in two games in the wing position. He comes in the middle a bit to help string together passes but has played well on the outside as of late. By starting 11 for the Ticos game is as attack oriented as I can make it….

      ————–Donovan———–Gomez—————

      —Torres————————————Corona—-

      —————Mix ——————Holden————–

      Beasley—-Orozco—-Goodson———–Beltran

  6. H-Town says:

    Wasn’t the Cuban goal scorer named “Cipriano”?

  7. Ryan nanez says:

    With the way wondo is playing I’d start him over gomez. He seems to be playing with hunger and a point to prove and that’s dangerous. Does he deserve and A team spot? Yes if he continues to play like this. I’ve never been high on wondo but he’s playing like an Inzaghi. Won’t beat you on the dribble and isn’t very fast but he’s always in the right position. Good service is his bestfriend right now. I would like to see more of mix and Holden together. I always rip beckerman but I can admit he was solid today which he should be against the likes of Cuba. Do I think he deserves a spot going forward? Nope. Does anyone know if we’re using extra roster spots in the knock out round? Can we bring in Gonzalez besler and Zusi?

    • Brad C says:

      I’m pretty sure Klinsy can only add players who were already on the pre-lim Gold Cup roster. The players you mention weren’t on it.

      Besides, the whole point of the GC is to get a look at other players and rest those playing in WC qualifiers…

      • biff says:

        Didn’t Klinsmann add a player or two a couple of weeks ago who were not on the prelim roster?

      • wfrw07 says:

        Gonzo, Besler, and Zusi were all on the prelim roster and eligible for selection.

        • Joemybro says:

          He added Chris Pontius to the available list of guys to bring in when he moved Shea from that list to the active list after Gatt’s injury. Pontius is rounding into form on an otherwise unwatchable DCU squad (and I say that as a long time fan). Pontius could make a logical Shea replacement for the knockout stage if JK doesn’t want to recall too many guys who played in the Qualifiers.

    • Chodilicus says:

      Beckerman was more than solid today. He was clearly the best player on the pitch. He broke up everything and was always in the way of Cuba trying to get forward. He won the ball and started the majority of the dangerous chances and goals for the US.

      I do think he has some physical limitations against elite competition. But, who are the better options at #6? Jones is far superior athletically but has terrible positioning and vision is passing going forward. Jones seems to give the ball away 50% of the time he has it. Bradley is not a true DCM nor is Torres or Fabian Johnson. Diskerud is the only guy other than Beckerman that I would want in there. I just think that #6 position is so critical to a great team, especially with a somewhat unproven and shaky back line.

      So for all the Beckerman haters out there, and there seem to be many, who is a better #6 option for the USMNT?

      • Chris says:

        This is not necessarily “who is better,” but it seems the current pecking order for D-Mid is:

        Jones
        Cameron (playing out of position)
        Bradley (dropping back and playing a more attack-minded midfielder ahead of him)
        Danny Williams
        Beckerman
        Diskerud

  8. Aero says:

    Impressed by: Corona, Wondolowski
    Liked: Donovan, Diskerud, Beckerman, Torres
    So-so: Holden, Gooch, Gomez, Beltran, Orozco, Rimando
    Not so much: Shea, Castillo

    • Brad C says:

      Castillo is good for at least 1-2 defensive mistakes a game…

      He was decent going forward but it was against Cuba after they have pretty much given up…

    • SanFran415 says:

      How did you not like Castillo? He was really good and productive. He got beat by speed on one play and the only reason that resulted in a goal was really, really bad defense from Onyewu.

      • Brad C says:

        It was Castillo’s man who beat him on the dribble to the end-line and cross the ball to the goal scorer…

        • SanFran415 says:

          That guy was really fast, and defenders get beat by speed all the time. Orozco was in position to block him off.

          The only defensive mistake there was by Onyewu went he didn’t even bother looking where the defender went and just watched the ball.

          • biff says:

            true.

          • Chris says:

            That guy WAS really fast (Cuba’s #11), but Castillo was objectively not “really good” today. He was ok in the second half, but he got burned defensively down our left flank all day long. That same player beat him on that exact same run half a dozen times at least that didn’t result in goals.

        • beachbum says:

          he got beat soon afterward and the service that followed could easily have made the score 2-0 Cuba

          but Edgar did many nice things today up the field in the 2nd half and was pretty much handcuffed in the 1st half with Shea’s performance

      • Tony in Quakeland says:

        Sorry, Castillo was horrible on the play. He had position the whole time – I wasn’t even concerned about him getting beat when the ball went wide. Then he took a poor angle, started running to late and was punished. It was a bad, bad. bad. bad play.

        • Brad C says:

          This. Castillo should never get beat for quickness to the end line…

          • Tony in Quakeland says:

            Really. Most fullbacks aren’t as fast as the guys they are defending. That’s why it’s about angles and positions. How many footraces does ‘Dolo win? And how many times does he get beat?

        • biff says:

          lol. great joke. funnier than heck rating Castillo the same as Shea because (wink, wink) we both know that Castillo had an excellent game. Had the most successful passes than anyone on the team (count ‘em, 100) and had a great passing sequence with Donovan and was pulled down in the box for a penalty that Donovan hit for the equalizer. Oh, and let’s not forget the excellent chest a$$ist to Wondow for a goal.

          Game Chalkboard
          link to mlssoccer.com

          Any other Castillo haters/jokers out there want to scream how awful he was today? Please. Lay it on us how bad he was today. We need a few more good laughs.

  9. Lol “4-1 thrashing.” Get off your high horse Ives

    • Brad C says:

      USA had 75% possession. What’s your definition of a thrashing then?

      • Chris says:

        Attempts on Goal: USA 18 – Cuba 4
        Attempts on Target: USA 10 – Cuba 2
        Possession: USA 75.8% – Cuba 24.2%
        Total Passes: USA 665 – Cuba 200
        Pass Accuracy: USA 89% – Cuba 68%
        Open Play Crosses: USA 37 – Cuba 3

        …What part of that is insufficiently dominant to warrant referring to it as a “thrashing”?

    • SanFran415 says:

      We had 3 absolute handball penalties not given on top of the 4 goals scored and their keeper make some wonder saves to keep it at that. We dominated them in every way, shape and form.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Calm down Fidel

    • Francois says:

      How is that not a thrashing when you dominate every single facet of the game besides fouls committed? Do you even know the game?

      • downintexas says:

        Didn’t you hear some team in Nigeria won a game 47-0. So by that standard the US did not thrash Cuba

  10. Brad C says:

    Let’s not get too excited about Wondo before we see him against some better competition. I’m eager to see how he does against CR, Panama, Mexico…

    • JRP says:

      I am not a Wondo fan. But come on. Nobody is staying he starts when the US has the big boys in town. This kind of sentiment is just anti MLS sentiment. You hate Beckerman, too. No one is saying Beckerman or Wondo should start on a WC level. But it is OK to celebrate our players when they play well even when they aren’t the best national team player at that position. It was fun to see the players having a good time. As fans we should all be celebrating a victory. Not doing this cheap criticism crap.

      • Brad C says:

        Don’t you want to see how he does against better teams? I’m not being overly critical. He obviously has a great ability to get on the end of headers and be the first to get to the ball…

        • biff says:

          Yes, Brad C, I do want to see how Wondow does against better teams, but that does not mean cannot be excited with what is happening now.

          • Brad C says:

            I’m happy for him. He’s obviously got a great nose for the goal, something many of our strikers don’t have (at least as good as Wondo)…

      • Edwin in LA says:

        I agree remember that it was against Panama that Wondo made a huge mistake missing a sitter. Lets see how he does vs a Costa Rica team that is not as strong add the one we should see vs the US in the September qualifier

    • Eurosnob says:

      +1, but his growing confidence is a very good thing for a striker.

  11. Ben James says:

    1. First half was horrible, highlighted by Shea’s awful performance on the left wing. After he came out and Castillo was able to wander up the flank, things opened up considerably. Shea needs to run at the defense more. He kept back passing, not being aggressive enough receiving long balls and making terrible crosses. In the second half, a lot of our attacks came from the left side, showing just how bad Shea was.
    2. It seemed like Donovan wasn’t getting on the ball enough during long spells, but every time he did, good things happened. Probably the MOTM for me.
    3. As much as I don’t like Beckerman, he actually played pretty well this game. I still want to see a Holden-Diskerud pairing though. Holden wasn’t great but not horrible. I thought Diskerud played excellent after coming on as a sub. Did well in build up play and makes a lot of high quality passes, like Holden has done in past games.
    4. Castillo got beat badly on Cuba’s goal and again shortly after. He looked good in the second half offensively, but I don’t know how to play him. Defensively, he seems to be a liability and when we play him on the wing, he’s largely ineffective. His strength seems to be going forward from the LB position, but I’ve seen him get burned far too often to justify playing him there against more competitive teams.
    5. Wondo continues to score. He needs to start next game, maybe even paired with Gomez. Still hasn’t scored against a quality opponent, but it’s not his fault that GUA, BLZ, and CUB aren’t quality. It will be interesting to see how he does against Costa Rica. I sense more people jumping onto his bandwagon after this game.

  12. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Castillo really sucks in defending, got burned again by Cubans, but Castillo made it up in attack.

    Gomez, too many dives and fouls!

    Holden and Gooch isn’t in form for 90 minutes.

    Shea, all speed and size but no IQ and zero acure in crosses.

    • wfrw07 says:

      Not sure what game you were watching with Gomez. Guy got 0 service today (that sounds familiar) and absolutely killed himself to try and make something happen. I recall him being called for two fouls, one a decent tactical foul, and the other was not a foul on him whatsoever.

  13. The Other Jeff says:

    Donovan MoTM. Made everyone around him better.

    Tactical lesson from this game: If an opponent bunkers in centrally, don’t bother going out wide until you are sure the bunker is going to work. All four goals originated from a player inside the sides of the penalty box, above the 18. Zero goals originated from the corners.

    • beachbum says:

      but the opportunities are generated by quickly moving the ball from one side to the other to make the D move and open up pockets, and as the game wears on that space becomes greater and the defensive reactions just that much slower

  14. SanFran415 says:

    If you think getting beat once in a game means you shouldn’t play–then nobody would play defense.

    I mean come on, with that logic no good defense would ever concede goals. There’s a reason people like Robbie Findley got to play despite having almost no comparable technical skill.

    Speed is not taught. It’s the ultimate tool for a player. You can’t neutralize it. You can only hope you pick the right angle.

    Italy gave up something like 9 goals in 3 games in the confederations cup. Obviously they all made bad defensive mistakes. Does that mean they don’t play anymore? Haha.

    If you want to point fingers, point them at Onyewu–his defensive mistake was far worse as it had to do with his attentiveness and knowing where his man was.

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Castillo’s error had everything to do with recognizing the situation, taking the proper angle and deciding when to step up the effort. It was first and foremost a mental error. That play never should have developed the way it did. A good fullback keeps that guy wide.

      • SanFran415 says:

        Real Madrid’s Marcelo was beaten at least 6 or 7 times to the end line by Jesus Navas in 20 minutes at the end of the Brazil-Spain game.

        Should he be benched for not being able to keep Navas from beating him to the baseline?

        • Nate Dollars says:

          um, if that’s true, then yes. (or i guess it depends on how good brazil’s other left backs are.)

          i thought the worst of it was when castillo had caught up to him in the box, and then *still* got run around. no excuse for that.

      • markwriter says:

        Also just gotta give credit to Cuba for that goal. Great speed around the corner, guy in the box made the right move, good ball to him and a really good finish. The whole US team was flat and Cuba smelled it, there were a couple counter opportunities earlier that had threatened to emerge but were just offside.

        didn’t get to watch the late part of the second half, I thought even through Corona’s goal that the US was struggling with fluidity. Hope it got better at the end.

    • Brad C says:

      What matters is the performance taken as a whole. Does Castillo offer enough going forward to make up for defensive mistakes?

      • beachbum says:

        as the competition rises that is the concern. Castillo as Marcelo? More like a good matchup for Edgar but internationally again Edgar appears better suited in midfield and up the field

      • Chris says:

        Against better opponents? No, he doesn’t.

  15. Jonathan says:

    More W for wondo fill that shirt man W for all the haters!!!!

  16. Nick says:

    How about that awful HD feed on Fox and the stream on FoxSoccer2go. The feed and stream were way better on Univision and Univision Deportes. I’m really hoping Fox has to sell their football rights for everything they do from here on out.

  17. Lucky Ned says:

    That first sentence was the most insightful piece of literature I’ve read since War and Peace

  18. AzTeXan says:

    Okay, I give up. Wondo, you can stay.

  19. Brian says:

    I loved the commentary especially by Wynalda. Am I the only one who appreciates his BRUTAL honesty? sorta refreshing. Just Sayin!

  20. Jerrod says:

    I know shea sucked but near the end of the first half he actually put in a coupe decent balls and seemed to be doing a little better. I was hoping for him to get 15 or 20 more minutes in the 2nd half to see how if he could snap out of it before the sub.

    He’s rusty now but he is a useful player if he can get back to where he was before. Imo of course.

  21. John says:

    Its pretty simple the US amount of possession just wore Cuba down. Cuba was pretty much standing around in the second half. You saw the same thing as they played Costa Rica. So I don’t think we should jump to any big conclusions and say that the second half subs were so much better. Even guys like Corona were pretty poor in the first half.

  22. StevieBob says:

    DiskerUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUd at it again! Such a gamer.

  23. LM says:

    I think we shouldn’t give up all hope on Shea yet because its only a game and Klinsmann himself said that they started out with too much confidence and that the rain was a factor also in that slow start but the guy has something to offer or else he wouldn’t have made it into the starting 11 in the first place… i guess it was all just nerves or the fact that this group hasn’t played together in like ever and all of a sudden Klinsmann decides to combine all of them..of course its gonna go bad

  24. Jason B says:

    I think that everyone is missing the coaching aspect of the past 3+ games. Klinsi loves to “lull” the other team by controlling possession in the first 50 minutes of the game. Then he high presses while opponents are fatigued. He stated this after we beat Mexico in azteca. (Sort of). That is why he always stresses high tempo and fitness. So the changing of the game is partly because of the players coming on, but mostly because of the change in tactics (which ironically one of klinsi’s downfalls). Give klinsi credit. He deserves it!

    • John says:

      Its funny how after each game everyone thinks the substitutes are far better then the starters.

  25. Am I the only person in the world that thinks Castillo should never ever play again for the USA?

    • John says:

      You have to give players a bit more time.

    • Brett says:

      It’s honestly a challenge to remember a single good sequence of play from him. His best moves are passing forward and then retreating backward. Any time he’s in a dangerous position and tries to play a cross or run at goal he gives it away.

  26. Brett says:

    Shea being a disaster for the MNT is nothing new. I figure he must do some amazing things in training for Klinsmann to keep giving him chance after chance. Same for Castillo, just a disaster out there for a team trying to control possession. The two of them combining on a wing is a recipe for turnovers.

    Corona’s goal was nice, but for 3 matches running he has looked mostly out of place as well.

    Per usual, the center of the park seems to be where all our talent goes. Holden was off his game, but Beckerman and Mix were surprisingly solid. I think that’s our starting pair moving forward, with Torres and Holden backing them up respectively.

    Wondo still doesn’t have my confidence as an international, crazy as that sounds. You have to give him credit for his production, but in my opinion it’s easy to make the right run against a team that’s not very organized or disciplined. I think he will fade into the grass when we play better opponents.

  27. larnzell says:

    We have quality at the striker position, with quality service jozy and wondo both deliver, without it they go goalless. Its not just by chance their finding the back of the net at this point in time, we’ve got players in there who can put the ball in good positions for them to succeed.

  28. YO says:

    I am not sure why Torres did not get more poor reviews, I thought he was poor.

    • Dennis says:

      Look at who he replaced! Torres is more creative than Shea and has an idea what to do when his first (or second) option does not work. Shea seems devoid of any ideas if his strength and speed are not enough to get him past the defense and the quality of his crosses was poor. Torres mayt have miss-hit a cross or two, but mostly he was hitting targets and serving balls into good spots and he did not turn the ball over. But, I think he plays too slowly for international standards and is not quick enough to spot teammates making good runs.

  29. Dennis says:

    We are about to see the US facing better competition. That will let everyone know which players belong and which don’t. Speed of play is an issue for the central mids and if none of them are able to do a bit better, they will see their stock fall, and the attack will suffer. The defense will face opponents that can punish errors so we will see if they can reduce their inattention and lapses. The attackers will face defenders that are a bit quicker, better organized and guilty of fewer mistakes; we will see who can score against that (unless the mids cannot provide service in which case we will learn not so much about the forwards’ ability to score). The set of forwards the US has on this roster is not one that has counter-attacking as a great strength (though Donavon can do that, the others probably do not have the speed needed for a traditional counter-attacking approach, of course Castillo and Corona could contribute on counters).

    • casey says:

      So positive there are we? Did you watch costa rica? They didnt deserve to beat belize (who had a very good case for a penalty). Honduras will be much better but they are squeaking by right now.

  30. twewlife says:

    1. I think Holden should be playing the role of the holding middle fielder, not the attacking midfielder. While Beckerman did a fine job this game, I think Holden’s skills make him a better option at the DM position. Further, if Herr Klinsmann does decide to keep Beckerman in the #6 role, Mixx seems like a better option to fill in at the attacking midfield slot.

    2. The U.S. offense seemed to move much better when Landon dropped back further down the pitch to receive balls through the middle.

    • beachbum says:

      LD does that, but from the position of advanced striker (or from outside on either side). that’s when he finds the space in there, not when he’s stationed in there. the pressure he applies stretching the D forward or wide then creates those pockets of space inside…and he can be very effective like that inside

      • chris_thebassplayer says:

        I like LD as a flank mid better than a forward. He’ll always cut in and support the forwards. At forward the marking tends to be tighter on him with less available space.

  31. Steve-o says:

    Mix = usa’s ozil & wondo = usa’s inzaghi

  32. JG says:

    I am not a Torres fan by any means. I think in the center of the park he has been dreadful. But …….he has looked good in two games in the wing position. He comes in the middle a bit to help string together passes but has played well on the outside as of late. By starting 11 for the Ticos game is as attack oriented as I can make it….

    ————–Donovan———–Gomez—————

    —Torres————————————Corona—-

    —————Mix ——————Holden————–

    Beasley—-Orozco—-Goodson———–Beltran

  33. JG says:

    I am not a Torres fan by any means. I think in the center of the park he has been dreadful. But …….he has looked good in two games in the wing position. He comes in the middle a bit to help string together pa$$es but has played well on the outside as of late. My starting 11 for the Ticos game is as attack oriented as I can make it….

    ————–Donovan———–Gomez—————

    —Torres————————————Corona—-

    —————Mix ——————Holden————–

    Beasley—-Orozco—-Goodson———–Beltran

  34. Greg S says:

    Shea’s first touch reminds me a lot of Altidore’s at the last World Cup. Way too many lost chances. Diskerud really was a star. Won balls, incisive passes – always forward! I saw a stat elsewhere indicating Beckerman made 51 of 55 passes successfully and forward. Seems like a different game than I watched.