A beautiful day in Utah saw a sluggish United States Men's National Team defeat the Cuban National Team at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy 4-1. Led by two goals by Chris Wondolowski, the lads in Red, White and Blue shrugged off a rough start to book their place in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Gold Cup.
My view from the supporters terrace in Sandy:
Brek Shea was off--for whatever reason the Stoke City man had trouble all afternoon. His crosses were poor, he struggled with getting back to defend as needed and could not hit water if he was standing in a boat. He seemed out of sorts for the bulk of his 45 minutes before being subbed at halftime and those of us at the match breathed a sigh of relief when he was taken off.
Defensive issues--obviously the offense is clicking on all cylinders with 10 goals in two games. But the defense has been suspect and gave up another goal to an inferior opponent. You have to be concerned with tougher games ahead vs Costa Rica and whomever the USMNT faces in the Quarterfinal.
As a Colorado Rapids fan it is painful to admit this, but Chris Wondolowski is making his case for a place in Brazil in 2014. He is on a roll of epic proportions. When he entered the match, he brought a spark and energy that was not there. Two more goals brought his total to five for the Gold Cup and has been the best player for the United States to this point.
A long flight to Connecticut and a date with Costa Rica awaits the United States as they conclude group play in the Gold Cup. But the teams have qualified for the Quarterfinals, but a win provides a better match-up for the United States. You have to think Costa Rica will not have forgotten the wonderful weather that greeted them in Denver in March. A victory by the USMNT should be in the offing.