The United States survived an early scare from Cuba, and ended with a bang for a 4-1 win in the opening game of Group B play at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in Seattle.
Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan, a late-game substitution, scored two goals to lead the U.S. New England Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey also chipped in a goal.
The young Cuban team shocked the Qwest Field crowd in the 18th minute when they took a 1-0 lead. Forward Lester More, who made a run to the far post, volleyed in a cross past U.S. goalie Marcus Hahnemann.
While keeping heavy pressure, the United States could not crack the Cuban defense and goalie Odelin Molina. Right before halftime, the Americans knotted the score. DaMarcus Beasley took a pass on the left side of the penalty box and crossed to New England Revolution striker Clint Dempsey. Dempsey took the cross and slotted it past Molina.
The United States, who are currently in second place in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, needed some key saves by goalie Marcus Hahnemann at the beginning of the second half. Hahnemann, who played collegiate soccer in the Seattle area, kept the Cuban attack under control.
With the score tied at 1-1, Cuba was forced to play with 10 men after Jaime Colome was sent off with a red card for a vicious foul on Conor Casey.
After making several late substitutions, the United States put pressure on the Cuban defense. Kansas City Wizards forward Josh Wolff narrowly missed a header in the 83rd minute, sending the ball over the cross bar.
Donovan, who came on as a sub in the 66th minute, was fouled late in the game just outside the Cuban penalty area. Donovan took the free kick and curled it in the corner, giving the U.S. a 2-1 lead in the 87th minute. The American's relentless attack continued, as D.C. United's Santino Quaranta fed DaMarcus Beasley, who scored with a shot from outside the penalty area in the 89th minute.
The United States was not done, as Donovan struck again in injury time after a set-up from Beasley, giving the Americans a 4-1 victory. The two goals by Donovan gave him 24 career goals with the national team, tying him for third all-time with Joe Max-Moore.
Group B play for the CONCACAF Gold Cup will resume in Seattle on Saturday when Cuba plays Costa Rica at 11:30 a.m. PT and the United States plays Canada at 1:30 p.m. PT. First round group B play will conclude at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts.
Miller Lite Man of the Match: Landon Donovan, USA
CUB - Lester More, 18'
USA - Clint Dempsey, 44'
USA - Landon Donovan, 87'
USA - DaMarcus Beasley, 89'
USA - Landon Donovan, 90+'
Cuba - Odelin Molina, Silvio Pedro Minoso (19-Munoz, 90th), Yenier Marquez, Alexander Cruzata, Enrique Villaurrutia, Disney Aquino, Alain Cervantes, Lester More (18-Duartes, 57th), Maykel Galindo (11-Gil, 77th), Jamie Colome, Reysander Fernandez
TD: Armelio Luis Garcia
United States - Marcus Hahnemann, Frankie Hejduk, DaMarcus Beasley, Clint Dempsey, Santino Quaranta, Conor Casey (10-Donovan, 66th), Jimmy Conrad, Chris Armas, Ben Olsen (16-Wolff, 75th), Brad Davis (5-O'Brien, 75th), Tony Sanneh
TD: Bruce Arena
USA: Sanneh, 46th
USA: Hejduk, 53rd
CUB: Minoso, 86th
USA: Beasley, 89th
CUB: Colome, 50th
Referee: Jose Pineda (HON)
Referee's Assistants: Daniel Williamson (PAN), Arturo Velasquez (MEX)
4th Official: Roberto Morneo (PAN)