MICHAEL ADUBATO - Saturday, September 6, 2008
The United States squeaked by CONCACAF minnows Cuba, who currently hold down the 92nd spot in the FIFA World Rankings in Havana on Saturday night.
Clint Dempsey was the hero for the Americans, bagging the solitary goal on the night in the 40th minute as the the Americans returned to Cuba for their first game on the Caribbean island nation since 1947.
The buildup for the game winner was orchestrated by Standard Liege defender Oguchi Onyewu when he booted the ball into the box from midfield.
Dempsey jumped with two defenders, but it was one of the Cubans who got a head on it, but only managed to find Brian Ching with his effort. The Hawaiian-born striker held off his defender and the ball found its way to Dempsey who buried his shot from a dozen yards out.
The Cubans, who had a few half chances almost drew level in the 86th minute however, when new Rennes signing Carlos Bocanegra almost gifted them a goal.
The defender mistimed his clearance and the ball bounced awkwardly off of his shin and headed straight for the bottom right corner of the American goal. Fortunately Tim Howard reacted quickly to push the ball away before it crossed into the goal.
Undefeated thus far in their group, the US heads back to American soil to take on Trinidad & Tobago in suburbian Chicago on Wednesday night. Trinidad & Tobago played to a 1-1 tie against Guatemala over the weekend.