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USMNT beats Cuba, advances to Nations League semifinals

Pushed by braces from Sargent and Morris, the Americans secured their spot in the next round.

Cuba v United States - CONCACAF Nations League

The United States Men’s National Team took care of business on Wednesday night and advanced to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Nations League as the Americans beat Cuba 4-0 with braces from Josh Sargent and Jordan Morris. The game was played in front of just a few hundred people on a below-average field at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Cayman Islands, on Tuesday due to renovations to Cuba’s national stadium.

The result secured the U.S. the top spot of Pool A of the Nations League. Although the Red, White and Blue has the same nine points as Canada (three wins, one loss), the Americans have the better goal differential (+12 to +6). Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica, all of which also won their pools, are the other teams to secure passage into the semifinals, which will be played in June 2020.

The semifinal matchups will be determined after the conclusion of Pool B later on Tuesday, but the U.S. is locked in as the third-best team of the group stage and will most likely face the Hondurans. The only situation in which that won’t happen is if Mexico loses to Bermuda. In that case, the Mexicans will be the opponents of former Columbus Crew SC’s head coach Gregg Berhalter.

With a quick turnaround following last Friday’s 4-1 victory over Canada in Orlando, Berhalter made four changes in the starting lineup, replacing John Brooks, Gyasi Zardes, Sebastian Lletget and Sergino Dest with Daniel Lovitz, DeAndre Yedlin, Christian Roldan and Josh Sargent.

The 19-year-old Sargent took no time to take advantage of the opportunity as he scored the opening goal for the U.S. within the first minute, finishing a cross from Paul Arriola just inches away from the goal.

A brace from Morris sent the Americans to the locker room with a three-goal advantage. The Seattle Sounders forward was on the end of an over-the-top assist from Weston McKennie to get to the ball and beat goalkeeper Sandy Sánchez with a right-foot finish in the 26th minute.

Thirteen minutes later, the 25-year-old forward scored again. Following a corner kick, defender Aaron Long tried to cross the ball but it deflected off a Cuban defender and went toward the net, but Morris tapped the ball in when it was about to cross the line to score his 10th international goal.

Tyler Boyd and Reggie Cannon, who were both subbed in during the second half, played a role in the fourth American goal, as the FC Dallas fullback crossed the ball and the Besiktas forward fed Sargent with a back heel pass to score at the 66th minute mark and seal the American win.

Crew players Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes, who both started against Canada, were not used in last the match of 2019.