It’s always a special thing when the men and women chosen to represent the United States hit the pitch for a 90-minute showdown with international bragging rights on the line. Tonight’s showdown with Cuba is that and then some, for a variety of reasons.
The match marks the first friendly contest between the U.S. and Cuba on Cuban soil since 1947. Despite the long-standing contention between the two countries, both sides will come together for a celebration of the beautiful game – one that has a lengthy history of bringing people and places closer together.
The San Jose Earthquakes are one of two teams in Major League Soccer, and the only one based in the United States, to send multiple players to the USMNT. Goalkeeper David Bingham, one of the brightest young stars in American soccer, and former MLS MVP forward Chris Wondolowski hope to lead the red, white and blue to a win in Cuba before returning stateside to take on Quakes’ rookie fullback Kip Colvey and the New Zealand All-Whites.
Wondolowski has previously had success against Cuba, scoring two goals in a CONCACAF Gold Cup match on July 13, 2013 in Sandy, UT. He has 10 goals overall for his country.
Bingham referred to his call-up as a ‘reward’ for his hard work and success in MLS – something that clearly hasn’t gone unnoticed by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. He made his international debut in February, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Canada.
The two games are important for the Americans, as it’s the last chance to prepare for the crucial Hex matchups against Mexico and Costa Rica in November.
Things kick off at 1 p.m. PT at Estadio Pedro Marrero in Havana. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and UniMas.