CONCACAF GOLD CUP

Qwest Stadium

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Cuba

  • Lester More 18'

1 - 4

FT

United States

  • Clint Dempsey 45'
  • Landon Donovan 86'
  • DaMarcus Beasley 89'
  • Landon Donovan 90'

Donovan saves the day

SEATTLE -- Landon Donovan saved the United States from a

shocking result.

Donovan scored the go-ahead goal on a free kick in the 87th

minute and added another goal in injury time as the United States

rallied to beat Cuba 4-1 Thursday night in the Americans' opener of

the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Donovan entered in the 66th minute, his first international

appearance as a substitute since June 23, 2003, against Cameroon in

the FIFA Confederations Cup.

"It's a lot more nerve-racking sitting on the bench in a game

like that," he said. "I was fidgety the entire time, and it was

sapping energy out of me."

Cuba went ahead in the 18th minute on Lester More's 11th goal in

his last 10 international games, the first goal for the Cubans

against the United States since Sept. 21, 1949. The teams have

played just four times since.

Clint Dempsey tied the score in the 45th with his second

international goal.

"The goal at halftime was a big goal for us," U.S. coach Bruce

Arena said. "We felt over 90 minutes that they would fatigue, and

we would get some chances and a second or third goal. I didn't

anticipate it was going to take about 86 minutes."

The Americans played with a man advantage for most of the second

half after Jaime Colome was ejected in the 50th minute for a high

kick caught Ben Olsen in the throat

Donovan, who had his fifth multigoal game with the national

team, scored the go-ahead goal after he was tackled just outside

the penalty area by Silvio Pedro Minoso. He then curled the free

kick around a defensive wall and past goalkeeper Odelin Molina.

DaMarcus Beasley scored two minutes later, and Donovan got

another goal off a pass from Beasley.

"At this level, against a team like the U.S., you have to keep

your concentration level for 90 minutes," Cuba coach Armelio Luis

Garcia said through an interpreter. "It's quite difficult"

With 24 goals in 65 international appearances, Donovan moved

into a tie with Joe-Max Moore for third on the U.S. career scoring

list behind Eric Wynalda (34) and Brian McBride.

Donovan scored four goals in the previous meeting with Cuba, a

5-0 U.S. win in the Gold Cup quarterfinals in 2003.

"It may look like a blowout, but it was a close game for 80

minutes," Molina said.

The United States, playing for the first time since its June 8

win at Panama in a World Cup qualifier, improved to 17-0 in group

play of the Gold Cup, the championship of soccer's North and

Central American and Caribbean region that is played every two

years.

The Americans, who outshot Cuba 17-5, play next on Saturday

against Canada, which lost 1-0 to Costa Rica.

Arena gave some of his inexperienced players a chance against

the Cubans, auditions for possible roster spots in future World Cup

qualifiers or next year's tournament in Germany. Santino Quaranta,

Brad Davis and Jimmy Conrad all started and made their first

international appearances.

Oft-injured John O'Brien made just his second appearance for the

United States since the 2002 World Cup, his first since an

exhibition against Venezuela in Seattle on March 29, 2003.

Scoring Summary

  • Cuba
  • United States
Lester More (18')

Match Stats

  • Cuba
  • United States
0(0) Shots (on goal) 0(0)
0 Fouls 0
2 Corner kicks 8
0 Offsides 1
0% Time of Possession 0%
0 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
0 Saves 0

Teams

  • Cuba
  • United States
Substitutes
Substitutions
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
Jaime Colome (51')