DAVID SMITH - Friday, July 1, 2016
US Soccer has announced that the senior men's team will travel to Cuba in October to play an international friendly match against the island nation for the first time in nearly 70 years.
The two teams have been occasional opponents in official games such as the Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying over the years, however have not played a friendly match since 1947 due to the prior diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
During this period, the Americans have played in Cuba on one occasion, when Clint Dempsey scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory in Havana during the course of qualification for the 2010 World Cup.
Apart from that, the teams have regularly played within United States borders, more often than not facing each other during the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Most recently, Jürgen Klinsmann's squad destroyed the Cubans by a 6-0 margin in the quarterfinal of last summer's disastrous campaign.
Overall, the teams have played a grand total six times in the last 11 editions spanning the previous 20 years, with the USA winning on each occasion, amassing an aggregate 23-2 scoreline.
The Cubans trips to the US for the Gold Cup are often accompanied by defections of players during the tournament. Most notable of these players is Osvaldo Alonso, who snuck away from the team in 2007 while in New Jersey, and has since gone on to play nearly 200 games as an all-star member of the Seattle Sounders.
The game will take place during the early-October international break, between the completion of the current fourth round of qualification and the start of the final hexagonal round. The teams will play in Estadio Pedro Marrero in Havana.