The United States men’s national team was underwhelming in group play of the Gold Cup, but still managed to get first place in Group A and will play a third-place Cuba in the quarterfinals, who has been (surprisingly) better than we all thought. I’m not saying Cuba has much of a chance, but stranger things have happened.
What the U.S. needs to do most is come out and score quickly. Allowing a team like Cuba, who has athletic players, to hang around is asking for a 0-0 match to go to penalty kicks.
In an effort to do this, Jurgen Klinsmann made a couple of changes to his 23-man roster headed into the quarterfinals, most notably 33-year-old converted left back DaMarcus Beasley, who had recently retired from international duty, but is coming out for an encore.
Beasley will bring a veteran presence to a shaky back line and allow Klinsmann to put Fabian Johnson at right back, strengthening the defensive line and allowing the midfield to get better at possession, something they struggled with in all three group play matches.
Will the U.S. win? Yes. Will they win by at least two goals? Yes. I see a blowout happening on Saturday night. Sorry, Cuba. America just hits another gear post-group play in the Gold Cup.
Prediction: USMNT – 3, Cuba – 0
How to watch USA vs. Cuba
Date: Saturday, July 18
Time: 5 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, Univision
Livestream: FOX Sports GO