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USMNT Nov 19, 2019

USMNT facing Cuba tonight with Concacaf Nations League Knockout Round berth on the line

CHICAGO – After gaining payback against Canada with a strong 4-1 victory on Friday night in Orlando, the U.S. Men’s National Team will look to finish the job in advancing to the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League Knockout Round with a victory against Cuba in its group finale on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Kickoff from Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Cayman Islands is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live on FS1, UniMás and TUDN.

Fans can also follow along via U.S. Soccer’s official Facebook, Twitter (@USMNT) and Instagram (@USMNT) accounts.

USA DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 63/0), 23-Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 8/0), 22-Matt Turner (New England Revolution; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (9): 5-John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 38/3), 20-Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 9/0), 18-Sergiño Dest (Ajax/NED; 3/0), 12-Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 9/0), 3-Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 15/3), 16-Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 12/0), 13-Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 39/1), 2-DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 61/0), 4-Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 11/2)

MIDFIELDERS (6):17-Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 13/2), 8-Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 18/6), 15-Alfredo Morales (Fortuna Düsseldorf/GER; 15/0), 10-Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 18/0), 6-Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 20/0), 14-Jackson Yueill (San Jose Earthquakes; 5/0)

FORWARDS (5):7-Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 31/5), 21-Tyler Boyd (Besiktas/TUR; 9/2), 11-Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 38/8), 19-Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 11/3), 9-Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 55/12)

USMNT GETS PAYBACK AGAINST CANADA
With exactly a month to think about the 2-0 defeat in Toronto, the USMNT came out in full force in the rematch on Friday in Orlando. Less than a week after helping Seattle Sounders FC lift MLS Cup, Jordan Morris needed just two minutes to give the USA the lead and then set up Gyasi Zardes for the game’s second goal in the 23rd minute, before Tim Ream’s free kick found the head of Aaron Long in the 34th to send the side into halftime with a 3-0 lead. Canada would grab a goal back through Steven Vitória in the 72nd, but Zardes shut the door on any comeback hopes when he one-timed home a deflection in the 89th minute to give the USA the needed three points and some payback against Les Rouges.

THE JOB’S NOT DONE
Defeating Canada was only half of the mission for the USMNT this month, as the team still needs to get a victory against Cuba in Tuesday’s Nations League group finale to ensure qualification to next June’s knockout round. With the USA erasing Canada’s advantage in goal differential with large margin of victory Friday night, a win of any sort against Cuba on Tuesday will see the side punch its ticket to the next stage.

Recognizing that Friday’s performance was only part of the equation, striker Jordan Morris said the team will not rest on its laurels when it comes to making sure it achieves the goal of advancement on Tuesday.

“The job’s not done,” Morris said from the field just minutes after the final whistle. “We can enjoy this, but tomorrow we focus on how we can do better and how we can beat Cuba.”

2019-20 Concacaf Nations League A, Group A Standings

Team GP W L D Pts. GF GA GD
x-Canada 4 3 1 0 9 10 4 6
x-USA 3 2 1 0 6 11 3 8
Cuba 3 0 3 0 0 0 14 -14

Results/Schedule:
Sept. 7 Canada 6-0 Cuba Toronto, Canada
Sept. 10 Cuba 0-1 Canada Georgetown, Cayman Islands
Oct. 11 USA 7-0 Cuba Washington, D.C.
Oct. 15 Canada 2-0 USA Toronto, Canada
Nov. 15 USA 4-1 Canada Orlando, Fla.
Nov. 19 Cuba vs. USA Georgetown, Cayman Islands

(x) – notes qualification to the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup
Click here for full Concacaf Nations League Standings

JORDAN MORRIS RUNNING HOT
The 2019 campaign has been quite a return for USMNT forward Jordan Morris. After recovering from an ACL tear suffered in early 2018, Morris returned in force for Seattle Sounders FC, registering 13 goals and eight assists across MLS Regular Season and Playoff matches, winning the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award and leading the club to MLS Cup glory a little more than a week ago. His form has been red hot on the international scene as well, with the Mercer Island, Wash. product contributing to seven of the 12 goals in the team’s last four games. Overall in 2019, Morris has a team-leading six assists to go along with three goals in 13 matches.

AARON LONG GOES FOR CALENDAR YEAR MILESTONE
Becoming the first USMNT defender ever to score two goals in a match back in June against Trinidad & Tobago, Aaron Long’s 34th minute header in Friday’s win against Canada took his 2019 total to three and put him on the doorstep of another USMNT milestone. Should the center back score a fourth in Tuesday’s match against Cuba, he would tie the record for most goals in a calendar year by a USMNT defender, jointly held by Alexi Lalas (1993), Marcelo Balboa (1994) and Carlos Bocanegra (2003).

GYASI ZARDES TAKES TEAM SCORING LEAD
Veteran forward Gyasi Zardes has experienced an international renaissance in 2019. After going through a two-year scoring drought, Zardes has registered six goals this year, effectively doubling the scoring total he entered the year with. The striker’s brace in Friday’s win against Canada was his third multi-goal game for the USMNT and pushed him past Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic (five goals each), for the team’s scoring lead with one match to play on the year.

YOUNG SQUAD RELATIVE TO EARLIER CYCLES
While the Concacaf Nations League isn’t exactly World Cup Qualifying, with its timing and similar format, the group stage has essentially replaced Concacaf’s old semifinal round of the qualifying process. As the USMNT continues to build as a group and in its style of play, the relative youth of the squad is important to remember.

Since the formats and timing are similar, age and experience comparisons to previous World Cup Qualifying cycles back up that the current crop of USMNT talent is greener than earlier cycles. For instance, at 24 years, 350 days, the starting XI for last month’s 7-0 win against Cuba was the youngest for the USMNT in a competitive, group-stage match during the modern era. The average of 23 caps was also the second youngest of the modern era.

In the Oct. 15 match at Canada, the starting XI’s average 25 years, 219 days and 25 caps was the youngest for the USMNT in an away, competitive group-stage match where the team hadn’t already advanced to the next round. Additionally, seven of the 14 players who appeared for the USMNT in Canada were playing in their first competitive road match for the USMNT.

The trend continued in Friday’s win against Canada, with the Starting XI averaging 28 caps, tied for the USMNT’s second lowest in Concacaf Nations League/Semifinal Round World Cup Qualifying play when the team hasn’t already advanced to the next round.

PULISIC, BRADLEY, STEFFEN FORCED TO WITHDRAW
Originally set to be part of the roster for the November matches, attacker Christian Pulisic and veteran midfielder Michael Bradley were both forced to withdraw from the squad due to injuries suffered with their clubs during the weekend.

Scoring his fifth goal in as many matches for Chelsea in Saturday’s 2-0 win against Crystal Palace, Pulisic suffered a hip injury. The USMNT held out hopes that the 21-year-old would be able to join the team for this month’s games, butmade a collaborative decision with the club to allow him to stay in England.

Bradley went the full 90 minutes in Toronto FC’s 3-1 defeat to Seattle Sounders FC in Sunday’s MLS Cup Final, but picked up a right ankle injury during the first half, leaving him unable to join the squad in Orlando.

Following conversations with Fortuna Düsseldorf, Steffen was left off the roster last week after experiencing ongoing tendonitis in his left knee. The issue had been a concern for several weeks and impacted him during the last international window. At this stage it doesn’t prevent him from playing matches – Steffen played in the club’s 3-3 draw with Schalke at the weekend — but the player has been limited in training. Like the Pulisic decision with Chelsea, the choice to allow Steffen to gain additional rest was made collaboratively with his club and done with the long-term health of the player in mind.

BERHALTER SECOND FASTEST TO 10-WIN MILESTONE
Managing his 17th match with the USMNT on Friday, the win against Canada marked Gregg Berhalter’s 10th as head coach, making him the second fastest in team history to achieve the milestone. Berhalter follows the mark set by Bob Bradley, who impressively got to 10 wins in his first 11 matches as USMNT head coach.

USMNT HEAD COACHES – FASTEST TO 10 WINS OVERALL

Coach

Games Coached

10th Win Date

Result

Competition

Bob Bradley

11

June 24, 2007

2-1 W vs. Mexico

2007 Gold Cup

Gregg Berhalter

17

Nov. 15, 2019

4-1 W vs. Canada

2019-20 CNL

Bruce Arena

18

February 16, 2000

1-0 W vs. Peru

2000 Gold Cup

Jurgen Klinsmann

18

September 11, 2012

1-0 W vs. Jamaica

2014 WCQ

Steve Sampson

19

June 9, 1996

2-1 W vs. Ireland

Friendly

Bob Gansler

21

April 8, 1990

4-1 W vs. Iceland

Friendly

Bora Milutinovic

24

May 30, 1992

3-1 W vs. Ireland

Friendly

WHAT IS THE NATIONS LEAGUE?
Similar to the recently launched UEFA Nations League, Concacaf’s version was created to maximize the quality, quantity and frequency of competitive matches for all of the confederation’s 41 Member Associations. Following a qualifying tournament that concluded earlier this year, teams were placed into one of three Leagues: A, B and C.

From there, teams were drawn into groups within their specific leagues, with each group providing a home-and-away format which runs during the course of the September, October and November FIFA international dates in 2019. At the end of the round-robin competition, the League A and B teams which finish last in their groups will be relegated to the lower league, while the group winners in Leagues B and C will be promoted to the higher league for the next edition of the competition.

Additionally, the four group winners from League A will advance to the Knockout Round where a semifinal and final will be played during the June FIFA international dates to crown the 2019-20 Concacaf Nations League champion. The semifinal matchups will place the No. 1 seed vs. No. 4 and No. 2 seed vs. No. 3.

The tournament has major implication on future competitions as well. With Concacaf changing its World Cup qualifying format for the 2022 cycle, the top six teams in the FIFA World Rankings come June 2020 will advance straight to the region’s final round of qualifying, while those outside will have to play a longer, drawn out format for the chance to go to Qatar in 2022. The Nations League also will serve as qualifying for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.

2019 USMNT RESULTS/SCHEDULE
(10-5-2; 34 GF, 14 GA)

Date Opponent Result Location Goal Scorers
Jan. 27 vs. Panama 3-0 W Glendale, Ariz. Mihailovic, Zimmerman, Ramirez
Feb. 2 vs. Costa Rica 2-0 W San Jose, Calif. Lletget, Arriola
March 22 vs. Ecuador 1-0 W Orlando, Fla. Zardes
March 26 vs. Chile 1-1 D Houston, Texas Pulisic
June 5 vs. Jamaica 0-1 L Washington, D.C.
June 9 vs. Venezuela 0-3 L Cincinnati, Ohio
June 18 vs. Guyana^ 4-0 W St. Paul, Minn. Arriola, Boyd (2), Zardes
June 22 vs. Trinidad & Tobago^ 6-0 W Cleveland, Ohio Long (2), Zardes (2), Pulisic, Arriola
June 26 vs. Panama^ 1-0 W Kansas City, Kan. Altidore
June 30 vs. Curaçao^ 1-0 W Philadelphia, Pa. McKennie
July 3 vs. Jamaica^ 3-1 W Nashville, Tenn. McKennie, Pulisic (2)
July 7 vs. Mexico^ 0-1 L Chicago, Ill.
Sept. 6 vs. Mexico 0-3 L East Rutherford, N.J.
Sept. 10 vs. Uruguay 1-1 D St. Louis, Mo. Morris
Oct. 11 vs. Cuba 7-0 W Washington, D.C. McKennie (3), Morris, OG, Sargent
Oct. 15 at Canada# 0-2 L Toronto, Canada
Nov. 15 vs. Canada# 4-1 W Orlando, Fla. Morris, Zardes (2), Long
Nov. 19 vs. Cuba# Georgetown, Cayman Island
^-indicates Concacaf Gold Cup; #-indicates Concacaf Nations League

USA-CUBA NOTES

  • Dating back to 1947, the series with Cuba is the USMNT’s third-longest against Concacaf nations behind only Canada and Mexico.
  • The USA holds a commanding 11-1-1 advantage against Cuba, with the Caribbean side earning its only victory in the first match between the teams, a 5-2 win in 1947.
  • The USMNT goes into the match on a 12-game unbeaten streak dating back to a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw on Sept. 14, 1949.
  • The USMNT has outscored the island nation 45-11 all-time.
  • John Pitti of Panama is the referee for Tuesday’s match against Cuba.
  • He has previously officiated two USMNT matches: Sept. 1, 2017 vs. Costa Rica (0-2 L; WCQ), Oct. 11, 2018 vs. Colombia (2-4 L; Friendly)

USA ROSTER NOTES

  • The average age of the roster as of Nov. 19 is 26 years, 5 day and 22 caps.
  • The roster features 15 players from MLS and eight from Europe with Germany (4), England (2), Netherlands and Turkey (1 each) represented.
  • Eighteen players took part in the USMNT’s October camp.
  • Twelve of the 14 players who appeared in last month’s 7-0 win against Cuba are part of the USMNT roster this month.
  • Gyasi Zardes’ brace on Friday vs. Cuba was the third multi-goal game of his international career and gave him a team-leading six goals in 2019.
  • Forward Jordan Morris and midfielder Cristian Roldan joined the squad off their 3-1 victory against Toronto FC in Sunday’s MLS Cup Final.
  • Morris has been part of seven of the 12 goals scored in the USMNT’s last four matches (3 goals, 4 assists).
  • With three goals on the year, should defender Aaron Long score in Tuesday’s match against Cuba, he would tie the USMNT record for most goals in a calendar year by a defender, jointly held by Alexi Lalas (1993), Marcelo Balboa (1994) and Carlos Bocanegra (2003).
  • With his appearance in Friday’s 4-1 win against Canada, defender Sergiño Dest was officially cap-tied to the United States.
  • DeAndre Yedlin will come to Orlando after tallying an acrobatic header in Newcastle United’s 2-1 win against Bournemouth on Saturday. The goal was Yedlin’s second in the English Premier League.
  • Thanks to his hat trick last month against Cuba, USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie is tied for the Concacaf Nations League A scoring lead along with Junior Hoilett (Canada), José Juan Macías (Mexico) and Nahki Wells (Bermuda).

PROJECTED CUBA ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3) : Nelson Johnston (Santiago de Cuba), Elier Pozo (Pinar del Rio), Sandy Sánchez (Delfines del Este/DOM)

DEFENDERS (7) : Yosel Piedra (USAC/GUA), Erick Rizo (Santiago de Cuba), Dario Ramos (Artemisa), Felipe Hurtado (Santiago de Cuba), Dariel Morejon (Villa Clara), Manuel Cruz (Camagüey), José Almelo (Pinar del Rio)

MIDFIELDERS (9) : Aricheell Hérnandez (Independiente/DOM), Karel Espino (Artemesia), Aníbal Álvarez (Ciego de Ávila), Jean Carlos Rodríguez (Pinar del Rio) , Lazaro Monzon (Villa Clara), José Pérez (Ciudad Habana), York González, Rolando Abreu (Santiago de Cuba), Randy Reve (Santiago de Cuba)

FORWARDS (2) : Maikel Reyes (Pinar del Rio) Luis Paradela (Reno 1868/USA)

IN FOCUS: CUBA

  • Cuba sits 179th overall in the latest FIFA Coca-Cola World Ranking
  • While Cuba is 2-7-1 on the year, they earned a 0-0 draw and 1-0 win in a recent two-game set with Nicaragua.
  • Los Leones del Caribe have three losses and have failed to score a goal in the team’s three previous Concacaf Nations League matches.
  • Striker Luis Paradela plays in the United States, featuring for Reno 1868 of the USL Championship.